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
b : embrace
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

comprehend, know, understand

Synonyms: Noun

control, hand(s)

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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

Now imagine trying to grasp long division, cell structure, the Bill of Rights. Guest Columnist/cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Government's biggest cuts hurt America's smallest citizens: Ben Stein (Opinion)," 22 Apr. 2018 Working for the royal family means grasping a whole new set of specific protocols. Annabelle Spranklen, Town & Country, "What It's Really Like to Work for the Royal Family," 6 Apr. 2019 That process, which Osorio confirmed started six months ago, produced a gameplan that left Germany grasping. Brian Straus, SI.com, "Mexico Can Dream Bigger at World Cup After Beating Powerhouse Germany," 17 June 2018 Studies have shown that just 25 weeks after conception, fetuses can be seen grasping at the umbilical cord inside the womb. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Why Do Couples Hold Hands?," 4 Jan. 2019 In libraries and with Chia Pets and cardboard cutouts across the country, people are grasping at the past to be part of Bob Ross’s happy world. Julia Lyon, Washington Post, "People are waiting in line. Is it Hamilton? No, it’s Bob Ross on YouTube.," 13 July 2018 No longer will defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and position coach Mike Nolan grasp at straws. Larry Holder, NOLA.com, "Saints finally stable at linebacker, but who plays where?," 15 May 2018 With even the most astute insiders flummoxed and grasping at info, Kawhigate is prime territory for speculating and theorizing. Nathaniel Friedman, GQ, "The Silence Around Kawhi Leonard Used to Be Comforting," 18 Apr. 2018 The episode is a preposterous black hole in the middle of the comedy, a grasping at gravitas. Christian Lorentzen, The New Republic, "The earnest, ironic stylings of Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs”," 21 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

If nothing else, General Electric Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp has a keen grasp of investor psychology. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "GE’s Glass-Half-Full Outlook," 14 Mar. 2019 Those who have played Pokémon Go will already have some grasp of how Niantic’s AR technology works in the wild. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is delayed," 14 Nov. 2018 But just then the water jumped chest high, and the PFD slipped from his grasp. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 Around 130 million years ago, a weevil gorged itself on wood pulp and died a sticky death in the relentless grasp of slow-moving resin. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "Jurassic Park’s Unlikely Symbiosis With Real-World Science," 15 June 2018 The Hornets had kept him out of the grasp of Everton in November 2017, but wielded the axe only two months later and sacked him. SI.com, "Is New Everton Boss Marco Silva Actually Worth the Hype After Previous Premier League Jobs?," 31 May 2018 Attack from Mars This game features a simple layout (commonly referred to as a fan layout because the shots fan out from the center) and an easy-to-grasp ruleset that belies a good challenge and a great sense of humor. Aurich Lawson, Ars Technica, "The Pinball Arcade is losing its classic tables; grab them while you can," 8 May 2018 It's been 44 years since NASA's last attempt to put a man on another planet, but finally the space agency is once again preparing to push humans beyond the gravitational grasp of mother Earth—and beyond. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "This Is NASA's Plan For Humanity's Return to the Moon, and Beyond," 8 Dec. 2016 With the ship now free of the entity's grasp, Saru prepares to die. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Is All About Friendship and Death This Week," 8 Feb. 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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Learn More about grasp

Dictionary Entries near grasp

Graptozoa

GRAS

Grasmere

grasp

grasp at

grasp for

grasping

Statistics for grasp

Last Updated

22 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grasp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grasp

Spanish Central: Translation of grasp

Nglish: Translation of grasp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grasp for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grasp

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