[ grap-uhl ]
See synonyms for: grapplegrapplinggrappler on

verb (used without object),grap·pled, grap·pling.
  1. to hold or make fast to something, as with a grapple.

  2. to use a grapple.

  1. to seize another, or each other, in a firm grip, as in wrestling; clinch.

  2. to engage in a struggle or close encounter (usually followed by with): He was grappling with a boy twice his size.

  3. to try to overcome or deal (usually followed by with): to grapple with a problem.

verb (used with object),grap·pled, grap·pling.
  1. to seize, hold, or fasten with or as with a grapple.

  2. to seize in a grip, take hold of: The thug grappled him around the neck.

  1. a hook or an iron instrument by which one thing, as a ship, fastens onto another; grapnel.

  2. a seizing or gripping.

  1. a grip or close hold in wrestling or hand-to-hand fighting.

  2. a close, hand-to-hand fight.

Origin of grapple

1520–30; apparently a frequentative of Old English gegrǣppian to seize; associated with grapnel

Other words for grapple

Other words from grapple

  • grappler, noun
  • in·ter·grap·ple, verb, in·ter·grap·pled, in·ter·grap·pling.
  • un·grap·pled, adjective

Words Nearby grapple Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use grapple in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for grapple


/ (ˈɡræpəl) /

  1. to come to grips with (one or more persons), esp to struggle in hand-to-hand combat

  2. (intr foll by with) to cope or contend: to grapple with a financial problem

  1. (tr) to secure with a grapple

  1. any form of hook or metal instrument by which something is secured, such as a grapnel

    • the act of gripping or seizing, as in wrestling

    • a grip or hold

  1. a contest of grappling, esp a wrestling match

Origin of grapple

C16: from Old French grappelle a little hook, from grape hook; see grapnel

Derived forms of grapple

  • grappler, noun

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