• synonyms


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), nabbed, nab·bing. Informal.
  1. to arrest or capture.
  2. to catch or seize, especially suddenly.
  3. to snatch or steal.

Origin of nab

1675–85; earlier nap; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Danish nappe, Norwegian, Swedish nappa to snatch
Related formsnab·ber, noun


  1. Also N.A.B. National Association of Broadcasters.
  2. New American Bible.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nab

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for nab


verb nabs, nabbing or nabbed (tr) informal
  1. to arrest
  2. to catch (someone) in wrongdoing
  3. to seize suddenly; snatch

Word Origin

C17: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare Danish nappe, Swedish nappa to snatch. See kidnap
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

Word Origin and History for nab


"to catch (someone)," 1680s, probably a variant of dialectal nap "to seize, catch, lay hold of" (1670s, now surviving only in kidnap), which possibly is from Scandinavian (cf. Norwegian nappe, Swedish nappa "to catch, snatch;" Danish nappe "to pinch, pull"); reinforced by Middle English napand "grasping, greedy." Related: Nabbed; nabbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper