\ 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


apprehend, arrest, bust [slang], collar, nail, nick [British slang], pick up, pinch, pull in, restrain, run in, seize



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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

Many who fear being nabbed by death squads have also fled to El Salvador, Honduras and Florida. Maria Verza, The Seattle Times, "In Nicaragua, political violence spurs migration," 25 Oct. 2018 The alleged snatcher, Gabriela Doolan, 27, of Hollywood, confessed to asking the victim for a cigarette before nabbing the purse and making a getaway in the truck driven by Juhasz, an arrest report said. Tonya Alanez,, "Police arrest pair accused of Publix purse-snatching," 28 June 2018 Canada, in turn, threatened to overfish its own rivers to keep American boats from nabbing the harvest. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "Climate Change May Spark Global ‘Fish Wars’," 14 June 2018 More than a decade after nearly nabbing the superhero role himself, Jake Gyllenhaal is in talks to join the Spider-Man franchise. Yohana Desta, HWD, "Almost-Superhero Jake Gyllenhaal Is Reportedly Joining the Spider-Man Universe," 21 May 2018 Sometimes the aim is described as being about nabbing suspects after a crime. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "Does Detroit's Project Green Light really make the city safer?," 20 Apr. 2018 The screenwriter's 2012 script Hey, Stella! — about Marlon Brando nabbing his role in Broadway's A Streetcar Named Desire — made it onto the Black List. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, "Bradley Cooper Spy Movie 'Matt Helm' Enlists Writer Tom Shepherd," 9 Mar. 2018 An entire flotilla of early whale fossils outlines these changes, such as feet that became paddle-like, spines adapted to up-and-down undulation to swim, and teeth suited to nabbing slippery fish. Brian Switek, Smithsonian, "What’s a Missing Link?," 7 Mar. 2018 After finishing its second season on Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale easily made the cut for the 2018 awards, nabbing 20 nominations overall. Vox Staff, Vox, "Emmys 2018: nominations, winners, and highlights," 12 July 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

17 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on nab

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nab

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nab

Spanish Central: Translation of nab

Nglish: Translation of nab for Spanish Speakers

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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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