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[grap-uh l] /ˈgræp əl/
verb (used without object), grappled, grappling.
to hold or make fast to something, as with a grapple.
to use a grapple.
to seize another, or each other, in a firm grip, as in wrestling; clinch.
to engage in a struggle or close encounter (usually followed by with):
He was grappling with a boy twice his size.
to try to overcome or deal (usually followed by with):
to grapple with a problem.
verb (used with object), grappled, grappling.
to seize, hold, or fasten with or as with a grapple.
to seize in a grip, take hold of:
The thug grappled him around the neck.
a hook or an iron instrument by which one thing, as a ship, fastens onto another; grapnel.
a seizing or gripping.
a grip or close hold in wrestling or hand-to-hand fighting.
a close, hand-to-hand fight.
Origin of grapple
1520-30; apparently a frequentative of Old English gegrǣppian to seize; associated with grapnel
Related forms
grappler, noun
intergrapple, verb, intergrappled, intergrappling.
ungrappled, adjective
5. struggle, contend, wrestle, cope, tussle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for grapple
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is in one respect the most important of all, namely, that it is the most direct attempt to grapple with the problem of error.

    The Problem of Truth H. Wildon Carr
  • They grapple YOU like hooks of steel; because you are steel yourself to the backbone.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • Later, his better informed judgment enabled him to grapple with the difficulties, and arrive at the truth.

  • How does he grapple with the idea of God, which is the essence of his philosophy?

  • They were most of them grown up, and the band of kinsmen was deemed The birth of Bolli a most forbidding one to grapple with.

    Laxdla Saga Anonymous
British Dictionary definitions for grapple


to come to grips with (one or more persons), esp to struggle in hand-to-hand combat
(intransitive) foll by with. to cope or contend: to grapple with a financial problem
(transitive) to secure with a grapple
any form of hook or metal instrument by which something is secured, such as a grapnel
  1. the act of gripping or seizing, as in wrestling
  2. a grip or hold
a contest of grappling, esp a wrestling match
Derived Forms
grappler, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Old French grappelle a little hook, from grape hook; see grapnel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for grapple

late 13c., from Old French grapil "hook" (see grapnel). The verb is 1520s, "seize and hold fast," from the noun. Sense of "battle, struggle (with)" is from 1590s. Related: Grappled; grappling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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grapple in Technology

GRAPh Processing LanguagE. 1968.
["A Directed Graph Representation for Computer Simulation of Belief Systems", L.G. Tesler et al, Math Biosciences 2:19-40 (1968)].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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