pre·​hen·​sion | \ prē-ˈhen(t)-shən How to pronounce prehension (audio) \

Definition of prehension

1 : the act of taking hold, seizing, or grasping
2a : mental understanding : comprehension
b : apprehension by the senses

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

It's easy to grasp the origins of "prehension" - it descends from the Latin verb prehendere, which means "to seize" or "to grasp." Other descendants of "prehendere" in English include "apprehend," "comprehend" ("to grasp the nature or significance of"), "prehensile" ("adapted for seizing or grasping"), "prison," "reprise," and "reprisal." Even the English word get comes to us from the same ancient root that led to the Latin prehendere.

Examples of prehension in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Prehension was seen as a key development for the USC/Belgrade Hand. Jose Fermoso, WIRED, "Interview: USC’s George Bekey on Past and Future Robot Hands," 26 Sep. 2008

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

First Known Use of prehension

circa 1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prehension

Time Traveler for prehension

Time Traveler

The first known use of prehension was circa 1828

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about prehension

Statistics for prehension

Cite this Entry

“Prehension.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for prehension


pre·​hen·​sion | \ prē-ˈhen-chən How to pronounce prehension (audio) \

Medical Definition of prehension

: the act of taking hold, seizing, or grasping

More from Merriam-Webster on prehension

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prehension Encyclopedia article about prehension

Comments on prehension

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!