\ ˈnab \
nabbed; nabbing

Definition of nab 

transitive verb

1 : to catch or seize in arrest : apprehend

2 : to seize suddenly

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Synonyms & Antonyms for nab


bag, capture, catch, collar, cop [slang], corral, get, glom, grab, grapple, hook, land, nail, net, rap, seize, snag, snap (up), snare, snatch, trap



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Examples of nab in a Sentence

We nabbed seats in the front row of the theater. the officer nabbed the purse snatcher before he could escape

Recent Examples on the Web

Police tracked Farland to his Westport residence and nabbed him after a brief struggle, according to the statement. Travis Andersen,, "Westport man gets booted from suprise party and allegedly targets friends by ramming car," 9 July 2018 Allen, who has picked up several high-major offers in recent months, probably has the best chance of any in-state prospect to nab a UK offer this cycle, but that is still no sure thing. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Here's a look at Kentucky basketball's 2019 recruiting targets," 29 June 2018 But the daddy thoughtful enough to nab Gene Kelly was the daddy that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend remembers. Mark Curnutte,, "He was Daddy: How his eldest daughter remembers Bobby Kennedy," 14 June 2018 At that point — knife in one hand, wood plank in the other — the woman successfully climbed over the desk just far enough to nab the cash register drawer, video shows. Jared Gilmour, star-telegram, "She stole a Texas motel’s cash register. A large piece of wood was her weapon, video shows," 14 June 2018 Braun tried it again, but Lester bounced a throw to third base to nab him, then settled in for six shutout innings. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers look to put runs on the board after Cubs pitchers dominated first two meetings," 10 June 2018 Instead, they were nabbed en route by armed gunmen, making them just two of the thousands of Mexicans — rich and poor, young and old — kidnapped each year. Rory Smith, Vox, "Hundreds of people in Mexico are kidnapped every year. And the problem’s getting worse.," 11 May 2018 Xi’s Crackdown Since coming to power, Xi has moved to halt the debt-fueled expansion of China’s biggest businesses, and pushed an anti-corruption campaign that has already nabbed more than 1.5 million Communist Party cadres., "Xi’s Warning to Investors: Any Chinese Billionaire Could Fall," 1 Mar. 2018 Law, now one of the board members, used his contacts to nab about one-fourth of the $40 million. Rick Rothacker, charlotteobserver, "The story behind the founding of NewDominion Bank | Charlotte Observer," 25 Jan. 2018

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

1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nab

perhaps alteration of English dialect nap

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Statistics for nab

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nab

The first known use of nab was in 1686

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More Definitions for nab



English Language Learners Definition of nab

: to catch and stop or arrest (someone)

: to take or get (something) quickly and often in a way that is clever or rude


\ ˈnab \
nabbed; nabbing

Kids Definition of nab

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Comments on nab

What made you want to look up nab? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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