See more synonyms for grab on
verb (used with object), grabbed, grab·bing.
  1. to seize suddenly or quickly; snatch; clutch: He grabbed me by the collar.
  2. to take illegal possession of; seize forcibly or unscrupulously: to grab land.
  3. to obtain and consume quickly: Let's grab a sandwich before going to the movie.
  4. Slang.
    1. to cause a reaction in; affect: How does my idea grab you?
    2. to arouse the interest or excitement of: The book was O.K., but it just didn't grab me.
verb (used without object), grabbed, grab·bing.
  1. to make a grasping or clutching motion (usually followed by at): He grabbed frantically at the life preserver.
  2. (of brakes, a clutch, etc.) to take hold suddenly or with a jolting motion; bind.
  1. a sudden, quick grasp or snatch: to make a grab at something.
  2. seizure or acquisition by violent or unscrupulous means.
  3. something that is grabbed.
  4. a mechanical device for gripping objects.
  5. the capacity to hold or adhere: The glue was so old it had lost its grab.
  1. 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 grab

1580–90; cognate with Middle Dutch, Middle Low German grabben, Swedish grabba
Related formsgrab·ba·ble, adjectiveun·grab·bing, adjective

Synonyms for grab

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grabbed

Contemporary Examples of grabbed

Historical Examples of grabbed

British Dictionary definitions for grabbed


verb grabs, grabbing or grabbed
  1. to seize hold of (something)
  2. (tr) to seize illegally or unscrupulously
  3. (tr) to arrest; catch
  4. (intr) (of a brake or clutch in a vehicle) to grip and release intermittently causing juddering
  5. (tr) informal to catch the attention or interest of; impress
  1. the act or an instance of grabbing
  2. a mechanical device for gripping objects, esp the hinged jaws of a mechanical excavator
  3. something that is grabbed
  4. up for grabs informal available to be bought, claimed, or won
Derived Formsgrabber, noun

Word Origin for grab

C16: probably from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch grabben; related to Swedish grabba, Sanskrit grbhnāti he seizes
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 grabbed



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with grabbed


In addition to the idiom beginning with grab

  • grab bag

also see:

  • how does that grab you
  • up for grabs
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.