Thesaurus

grasp

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of grasp

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 the ability to direct the course of something
  • for a time it looked like most of Europe would be within Hitler's grasp

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2 the act or manner of holding
  • during the roller coaster ride, my date clutched my arm with a deathlike grasp

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3 the knowledge gained from the process of coming to know or understand something
  • I think I finally have a grasp of Spanish grammar

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grasp

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of grasp (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to have a practical understanding of
  • he just doesn't grasp how important it is that he call when he'll be late

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2 to put one's arms around and press tightly
  • the departing soldier grasped his children a little closer than usual

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3 to reach for and take hold of by embracing with the fingers or arms
  • the attendant grasped my arm and steered me towards the door

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4 to have a clear idea of
  • the emergency operator finally grasped what he was trying to tell her

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Frequently Asked Questions About grasp

How is the word grasp different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of grasp are clutch, grab, seize, snatch, and take. While all these words mean "to get hold of by or as if by catching up with the hand," grasp stresses a laying hold so as to have firmly in possession.

grasp the handle and pull

When might clutch be a better fit than grasp?

The synonyms clutch and grasp are sometimes interchangeable, but clutch suggests avidity or anxiety in seizing or grasping and may imply less success in holding.

clutching her purse

How are the words grab and snatch related as synonyms of grasp?

Grab implies more roughness or rudeness than snatch.

grabbed roughly by the arm

When is it sensible to use seize instead of grasp?

While in some cases nearly identical to grasp, seize implies a sudden and forcible movement in getting hold of something tangible or an apprehending of something fleeting or elusive when intangible.

seized the suspect

How do snatch and seize relate to one another, in the sense of grasp?

Snatch suggests more suddenness or quickness but less force than seize.

snatched a doughnut and ran

When could take be used to replace grasp?

While the synonyms take and grasp are close in meaning, take is a general term applicable to any manner of getting something into one's possession or control.

take some salad from the bowl

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Time Traveler for grasp

Time Traveler

The first known use of grasp was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grasp.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/grasp. Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on grasp

Dictionary: Definition of grasp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grasp

Spanish Central: Translation of grasp

Nglish: Translation of grasp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grasp for Arabic Speakers

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