\ ˈgrip \
gripped; gripping

Definition of grip

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to seize or hold firmly gripped the door handle
2 : to hold the interest of strongly a story that grips the reader



Definition of grip (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a strong or tenacious grasp had a good grip on the tennis racket
b : strength in gripping
c : manner or style of gripping the balanced grip of an expert golfer
2a : a firm tenacious hold typically giving control, mastery, or understanding has the country in his grip
b : mental grasp can't seem to get a grip[=gain a good understanding of] on calculus … I'm curious to see if preteens have a grip on this fairly sophisticated concept.— John Hoffman
3 : a part or device for gripping
4 : a part by which something is grasped especially : handle
5 : suitcase
6a : a stage worker who handles scenery, properties, or lights : stagehand
b : a technician on a motion-picture or television set who handles and maintains equipment (such as cameras and their dollies and cranes)

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Other Words from grip


gripper noun
grippingly \ ˈgri-​piŋ-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms for grip

Synonyms: Verb

clench, cling (to), clutch, hold

Synonyms: Noun

carry-on, carryall, handbag, holdall [chiefly British], portmanteau, suitcase, traveling bag, wallet

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Examples of grip in a Sentence


The little boy gripped his mother's hand tightly. I gripped the door handle and pulled as hard as I could. The story really grips the reader. The scandal has gripped the nation.


His tennis instructor showed him the proper backhand grip. a golfer with an incorrect grip He has been doing all he can to maintain his grip on the company's finances. I need new grips for my golf clubs.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the currency crunch behind EcoCash’s meteoric rise is also at the root of the shareholder battle now gripping its parent company. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "Virtual-Cash Treasure in Zimbabwe Sparks Fight Over Billions," 2 Jan. 2019 They are fully loaded with water and people gripping sticks, their eyes are firmly fixed on the future. Fox News, "Algeria expels thousands of migrants in forced Sahara march," 25 June 2018 Madhav Thapar, another apartment owner, is disheartened while describing the lawlessness and deterioration gripping the hill city. Anto Antony,, "Billionaire’s Folly Becomes Bankers’ Nightmare," 18 June 2018 The homelessness crisis gripping Southern California is impossible to miss and evokes many different emotions. Shelby Grad,, "Essential California: Many people work hard to avoid the homeless. These volunteers embrace them," 7 June 2018 The emotional, dissonant scene reflected the increasingly divided nation that Trump leads, one gripped by a week of political violence and hate and hurtling toward contentious midterm elections that could alter the path of a presidency. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Trumps pay tribute at synagogue where 11 were fatally shot," 31 Oct. 2018 As the noon tariff deadline loomed, Chinese social media were gripped by the progress of Peak Pegasus, a ship with a consignment of American soyabeans steaming to reach Dalian port before the deadline. The Economist, "In its trade war with America, China dials down the hype," 12 July 2018 Tens of thousands have died and the country is gripped by food shortages. Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY, "Children make up more than half of the refugee population, U.N. says," 19 June 2018 Others wonder if he is simply gripped by anguish, vengeance and paranoia, and is dragging his country along with him. Marc Santora, New York Times, "After a President’s Shocking Death, a Suspicious Twin Reshapes a Nation," 16 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The sway held by Russia over the cartel’s decisions suggests Saudi Arabia is losing its grip on the group, delegates say. Christopher Alessi, WSJ, "Saudis Still Skeptical of OPEC Coalition Cuts," 7 Dec. 2018 Scott Olson/Getty Images Republicans, about to lose their grip on power in a number of states, are trying their hardest to sour Democrats’ election wins — and Wisconsin is taking charge. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Republicans are suddenly pushing “good governance” in states they lost power in.," 5 Dec. 2018 As more voices like Bündchen’s join the mental health conversation, dispelling the fallacy of perfection along the way, the old taboos slowly lose their grip. Sara Gaynes Levy, Vogue, "Why Gisele Bündchen’s Honest Conversation About Suicide Is So Important Now," 26 Sep. 2018 The victims include a 1-year-old boy who was swept away after his mother drove into floodwaters and lost her grip on him while trying to get back to dry land in North Carolina. Chuck Burton, The Seattle Times, "Wilmington Isle: Food, water handouts set in isolated city," 17 Sep. 2018 Yet soon after the war ended and the last prisoners were freed, the story of the prison ships began to lose its grip on popular memory, Burrows wrote. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "‘Turn out your dead!’ In America’s War for Independence, POWs paid a terrible price.," 4 July 2018 Fiorentina dominated possession in the first-half and mustered 12 shots on goal, compared to Napoli's one, as Maurizio Sarri's men started to lose their grip on Serie A leaders Juventus and the title., "Napoli's Title Hopes All But Over After Defeat to Fiorentina," 29 Apr. 2018 Most of the time, these tires—kit with the track package ($2,995), along with rear wing and front carbon-fiber splitter—made driving the ZR1 like wrestling a giant bipolar eel: powerful, slippery, hard to get a grip. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Corvette ZR1: The Last, and Best, of Its Kind," 28 Nov. 2018 Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine nearly five years ago and has since tightened its grip on it. Alex Ward, Vox, "Russia just openly attacked Ukraine. That could mean their war will get worse.," 26 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grip.' 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 grip


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for grip

Verb and Noun

Middle English grippen, from Old English grippan; akin to Old English grīpan

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Statistics for grip

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grip

The first known use of grip was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for grip



English Language Learners Definition of grip

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to grab or hold (something) tightly

: to get and hold the interest or attention of (someone)



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

: the act of grabbing or holding something

: a way or style of holding something

: power or control


\ ˈgrip \
gripped; gripping

Kids Definition of grip

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to grab or hold tightly
2 : to hold the interest of The story grips the reader.



Kids Definition of grip (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a strong grasp
2 : strength in holding : power the grip of winter
3 : understanding entry 1 sense 1 I finally have a grip on division.
4 : self-control Calm down and get a grip.

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More from Merriam-Webster on grip

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grip

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grip

Spanish Central: Translation of grip

Nglish: Translation of grip for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grip for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grip

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someone who never drinks alcohol

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