[ ap-ri-hend ]
/ ˌæp rɪˈhɛnd /

verb (used with object)

to take into custody; arrest by legal warrant or authority: The police apprehended the burglars.
to grasp the meaning of; understand, especially intuitively; perceive.
to expect with anxiety, suspicion, or fear; anticipate: apprehending violence.

verb (used without object)

to understand.
to be apprehensive, suspicious, or fearful; fear.

Nearby words

  1. appreciable,
  2. appreciate,
  3. appreciation,
  4. appreciative,
  5. appreciatory,
  6. apprehensible,
  7. apprehension,
  8. apprehensive,
  9. apprehensively,
  10. apprentice

Origin of apprehend

1350–1400; Middle English apprehenden < Latin apprehendere to grasp, equivalent to ap- ap-1 + prehendere to seize (pre- pre- + -hendere to grasp)

Related formsap·pre·hend·er, nounre·ap·pre·hend, verbun·ap·pre·hend·ed, adjectiveun·ap·pre·hend·ing, adjective

Can be confusedapprehend comprehend Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for apprehend

British Dictionary definitions for apprehend


/ (ˌæprɪˈhɛnd) /


(tr) to arrest and escort into custody; seize
to perceive or grasp mentally; understand
(tr) to await with fear or anxiety; dread

Word Origin for apprehend

C14: from Latin apprehendere to lay hold of

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 apprehend



mid-14c., "to grasp in the senses or mind," from Old French aprendre (12c.) "teach; learn; take, grasp; acquire," or directly from Latin apprehendere "to take hold of, grasp," from ad- "to" + prehendere "to seize" (see prehensile). Metaphoric extension to "seize with the mind" took place in Latin, and was the sole sense of cognate Old French aprendre (Modern French apprendre "to learn, to be informed about;" also cf. apprentice). Original sense returned in English in meaning "to seize in the name of the law, arrest," recorded from 1540s, which use probably was taken directly from Latin. Related: Apprehended; apprehending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper