- 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
Synonyms for grab
- 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 for grab
1777, "thing grabbed;" 1824, "act of grabbing," from grab (v.). Up for grabs attested from 1945 in jive talk.
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.
In addition to the idiom beginning with grab
- grab bag
- how does that grab you
- up for grabs