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

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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

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Time Traveler for prehension

The first known use of prehension was circa 1828

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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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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