- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for grab on Thesaurus.com
- a ship having two or three masts with a square rig, common on the Malabar Coast in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Origin of grab2
Examples from the Web for grabs
At this point, the female rapper comes across as fairly sympathetic—that is, until Azealia Banks grabs the mic.Solange Smacks Jay Z, Legolas Slaps Bieber, and the Biggest Celebrity Feuds of the Year
December 24, 2014
Growing rapidly as a community and up for grabs, Asian Americans are deciding elections around the country.Asian Americans Are The Country’s Fastest Growing Swing Vote
November 9, 2014
At that age you can fashion yourself: everything is up for grabs.Sarah Waters: Queen of the Tortured Lesbian Romance
September 30, 2014
Now, when you Google “Brian Lederman” the first result describes him as someone who “grabs a lot of asses.”Online Shaming Gives Creeps the Spotlight They Deserve
September 23, 2014
“I think the evangelical vote is up for grabs,” Biundo, the former Santorum aide now working for Paul, told me.Is Rand Paul Christian Enough for the GOP?
August 2, 2014
He cries a minute, then forgets all about it, and grabs up something else to play with.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
A great, rich, busy nation cannot stop to see who grabs its pennies.The Call of the Twentieth Century
David Starr Jordan
The human body is not for him, so he grabs his bag and hops off.
He races back and starts to holler, “Stop it Mel,” and grabs her collar.
With that he claps on the bucket, grabs a bag and starts for the car door.Shorty McCabe
- 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 and History for grabs
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.
Idioms and Phrases with grabs
In addition to the idiom beginning with grab
- grab bag
- how does that grab you
- up for grabs