- to seize suddenly or quickly; snatch; clutch: He grabbed me by the collar.
- to take illegal possession of; seize forcibly or unscrupulously: to grab land.
- to obtain and consume quickly: Let's grab a sandwich before going to the movie.
- to cause a reaction in; affect: How does my idea grab you?
- to arouse the interest or excitement of: The book was O.K., but it just didn't grab me.
- to make a grasping or clutching motion (usually followed by at): He grabbed frantically at the life preserver.
- (of brakes, a clutch, etc.) to take hold suddenly or with a jolting motion; bind.
- a sudden, quick grasp or snatch: to make a grab at something.
- seizure or acquisition by violent or unscrupulous means.
- something that is grabbed.
- a mechanical device for gripping objects.
- the capacity to hold or adhere: The glue was so old it had lost its grab.
- up for grabs, Informal. available to anyone willing to expend the energy to get it: The Republican nomination for mayor was up for grabs.
Origin of grab1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a ship having two or three masts with a square rig, common on the Malabar Coast in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Origin of grab2
Examples from the Web for grab
The officers approached Garner and tried to grab hold of him, but he swatted their hands away.Before Eric Garner, There Was Michael Stewart: The Tragic Story of the Real-Life Radio Raheem
December 4, 2014
Johnson would tell the grand jury that he never saw Brown stick his hand inside the car and grab the gun.90 Seconds of Fury in Ferguson Are the Key to Making Peace in America
November 26, 2014
With every grab, the idea that law and politics are separate becomes harder for anyone to believe.
What one side tries to take off the table, to turn from “politics” into “law,” the other side is always trying to grab back.
It is unclear if Kerry will be able to grab a bottle or two from the cubby the next time he passes through Moldova.Meditation Rugs, Swords, and Horse Head Fiddles: The Strangest Gifts Given to Government Bigwigs
November 11, 2014
I made a grab at the gunwale, and caught it in the stern-sheets.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
Bart braced his feet apart and stood ready to grab the beast.Frank Roscoe's Secret
She'll keep stayin' out o' nights till th' fox 'll grab 'er.Southern Lights and Shadows
"Pilot, you will be responsible for this if my prisoners escape," said Mr. Grab menacingly.Homeward Bound
James Fenimore Cooper
I urged him to grab the other side of the keg several times.
- to seize hold of (something)
- (tr) to seize illegally or unscrupulously
- (tr) to arrest; catch
- (intr) (of a brake or clutch in a vehicle) to grip and release intermittently causing juddering
- (tr) informal to catch the attention or interest of; impress
- the act or an instance of grabbing
- a mechanical device for gripping objects, esp the hinged jaws of a mechanical excavator
- something that is grabbed
- up for grabs informal available to be bought, claimed, or won
Word Origin and History for grab
1580s, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German grabben "to grab," from Proto-Germanic *grab (cf. Old English græppian "to seize," Old Saxon garva, Old High German garba "sheaf," literally "that which is gathered up together"), from PIE *ghrebh- "to seize, reach" (cf. Sanskrit grbhnati "seizes," Old Persian grab- "seize" as possession or prisoner, Old Church Slavonic grabiti "to seize, rob," Lithuanian grebiu "to rake"). Sense of "to get by unscrupulous methods" reinforced by grab game, a kind of swindle, attested from 1846. Related: Grabbed; grabbing.
1777, "thing grabbed;" 1824, "act of grabbing," from grab (v.). Up for grabs attested from 1945 in jive talk.