grasp

verb
\ ˈgrasp How to pronounce grasp (audio) \
grasped; grasping; grasps

Definition of grasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make the motion of seizing : clutch grasping for support

transitive verb

1 : to take or seize eagerly grasp the opportunity for advancement
2 : to clasp or embrace especially with the fingers or arms grasped the pen and began writing
3 : to lay hold of with the mind : comprehend failed to grasp the danger of the situation
grasp at straws
: to reach for or try anything in desperation
grasp the nettle
: to act boldly

grasp

noun

Definition of grasp (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : handle
2 : hold, control kept a firm grasp on the rope
3a : the reach of the arms The books on the top shelf were beyond my grasp.
b : the power of seizing and holding or attaining success lay within their grasp
4 : mental hold or comprehension especially when broad a remarkable grasp of the subject

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Other Words from grasp

Verb

graspable \ ˈgra-​spə-​bəl How to pronounce graspable (audio) \ adjective
grasper noun

Synonyms for grasp

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for grasp

Verb

take, seize, grasp, clutch, snatch, grab mean to get hold of by or as if by catching up with the hand. take is a general term applicable to any manner of getting something into one's possession or control. take some salad from the bowl seize implies a sudden and forcible movement in getting hold of something tangible or an apprehending of something fleeting or elusive when intangible. seized the suspect grasp stresses a laying hold so as to have firmly in possession. grasp the handle and pull clutch suggests avidity or anxiety in seizing or grasping and may imply less success in holding. clutching her purse snatch suggests more suddenness or quickness but less force than seize. snatched a doughnut and ran grab implies more roughness or rudeness than snatch. grabbed roughly by the arm

Examples of grasp in a Sentence

Verb I grasped the end of the rope and pulled as hard as I could. I grasped the rope by its end. His arthritis is so bad he can barely grasp a pencil. Noun The author shows a weak grasp of military strategy. The books on the top shelf are just beyond my grasp. She moved the toy to within the baby's grasp. She felt the solution was within her grasp.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One former LA Opera staffer said Domingo once backed her up against a wall, grasped her hand and whispered into her ear as her male boss looked on awkwardly. Washington Post, "Singer says opera’s Domingo harassed her, grabbed her breast," 7 Sep. 2019 One former LA Opera staffer said Domingo once backed her up against a wall, grasped her hand and whispered into her ear as her male boss looked on awkwardly. Jocelyn Gecker And Jocelyn Noveck, USA TODAY, "11 more women accuse opera singer Placido Domingo of sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior," 5 Sep. 2019 One former LA Opera staffer said Domingo once backed her up against a wall, grasped her hand and whispered into her ear as her male boss looked on awkwardly. Jocelyn Gecker, chicagotribune.com, "11 more women accuse opera singer Placido Domingo of sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior," 5 Sep. 2019 Memorable images, easily grasped and capable of exerting a strong popular appeal—these are the qualities of the paintings known in France as belonging to the juste milieu, the middle of the road. James Fenton, The New York Review of Books, "Nasty & Nice," 9 May 2019 Humans are needed mostly for grasping and placing, tasks that robots haven’t mastered yet. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "How Robots and Drones Will Change Retail Forever," 15 Oct. 2018 To harvest, simply grasp the fruit and cut the stem with a pruning shears a quarter-inch above it. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Growing Crisp Cucumbers," 12 July 2018 The two men grasped each other by the hand and embraced for longer than a second. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Luke Kennard was groomed to be NBA player — by his dad," 17 June 2018 But this much is clear: with Johnson grasping for a vote, opposition parties attempting to maintain a rickety alliance, and suggestions the PM could break the law to achieve Brexit, Westminster is set for yet another explosive week. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Boris Johnson had a torrid week. Now he's fighting to take back control," 8 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Agency officials narrowed their focus after spending months trying to gain a better grasp of the tech sector. Brian Fung, CNN, "FTC ramping up its Big Tech antitrust investigations," 11 Sep. 2019 Our surrogate mothers monitor and score their behavior to indicate when the orangutans have a clear grasp of climbing, foraging, nest building, predator avoidance, and healthy socialization. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "School for Orphaned Baby Orangutans Helps the Young Primates Grow Up and Graduate to the Wild," 1 Aug. 2019 Rosen faces an uphill battle in the Dolphins competition since Fitzpatrick has already shown his NFL experience by having a better grasp of the new scheme during offseason workouts this spring and summer. Safid Deen, sun-sentinel.com, "How does QB Josh Rosen fit into the Miami Dolphins’ plan in 2019 and beyond? | Countdown to camp," 17 July 2019 Bimbo tried to reproduce the fine arc the young man had cut in the air but swung loosely, and at the apex of his swing the katana almost jumped free of his grasp. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "The Alps," 22 July 2019 Dally arrived and made life more difficult for Bingham, who saw the ball leak out of his grasp and into harm's way. Patrick Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "Rashawn Dally left his mark in FC Cincinnati's 2-0 defeat against Los Angeles Galaxy," 23 June 2019 The Washington Nationals are choosing to play things safe with Scherzer’s recovery rather than rushing him along, eyeing important innings in October with the ball in Scherzer’s grasp. Andy Kostka, USA TODAY, "Nationals ace Max Scherzer felt 'really good' after simulated game," 12 Aug. 2019 In the year after Trump took office, state and local police officers across Pennsylvania swept carloads of Latino immigrants into ICE’s grasp. Jeff Gammage, ProPublica, "ACLU Sues Pennsylvania State Police, Alleging They’ve Overstepped in Acting as Immigration Authorities," 5 July 2019 Atwood’s best novels bring to bear a psychologist’s grasp of deep, interior forces and a mad scientist’s knack for conceptual experiments that can draw these forces out into the open. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "Margaret Atwood Expands the World of “The Handmaid’s Tale”," 5 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grasp.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grasp

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for grasp

Verb and Noun

Middle English graspen

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Statistics for grasp

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for grasp

The first known use of grasp was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for grasp

grasp

verb
How to pronounce grasp (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of grasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to take and hold (something) with your fingers, hands, etc.
: to understand (something that is complicated or difficult)

grasp

noun

English Language Learners Definition of grasp (Entry 2 of 2)

: a usually strong hold
: an understanding of something
: the distance that can be reached by your arms and hands

grasp

verb
\ ˈgrasp How to pronounce grasp (audio) \
grasped; grasping

Kids Definition of grasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to seize and hold with or as if with the hand grasp a bat You must grasp the opportunity.
2 : to make the motion of seizing She grasped at branches as she fell.
3 : understand sense 1 He quickly grasped the idea.

grasp

noun

Kids Definition of grasp (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a grip of the hand Keep a firm grasp on the rope.
2 : control entry 2 sense 1, hold The land was in the grasp of a tyrant.
3 : the power of seizing and holding : reach He put the tools beyond the child's grasp.
4 : understanding entry 1 sense 1 She has a good grasp of math.

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More from Merriam-Webster on grasp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grasp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grasp

Spanish Central: Translation of grasp

Nglish: Translation of grasp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grasp for Arabic Speakers

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