verb (used without object), grap·pled, grap·pling.

verb (used with object), grap·pled, grap·pling.

to seize, hold, or fasten with or as with a grapple.
to seize in a grip, take hold of: The thug grappled him around the neck.


Origin of grapple

1520–30; apparently a frequentative of Old English gegrǣppian to seize; associated with grapnel
Related formsgrap·pler, nounin·ter·grap·ple, verb, in·ter·grap·pled, in·ter·grap·pling.un·grap·pled, adjective

Synonyms for grapple Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grappled

Contemporary Examples of grappled

Historical Examples of grappled

  • And the hands of the other grappled at his wrists, smashed into his face.

  • Swift on her part she paid him back with grisly grasp, and grappled with him.



  • He clung to all three, he grappled them to him; they were his sheet-anchor and his pole-star.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • He closed with the ruffian, grappled him by the throat, and flung him on his back.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • Both were men of great strength, and their muscles knotted as they grappled.

    The Mountain Divide

    Frank H. Spearman

British Dictionary definitions for grappled



to come to grips with (one or more persons), esp to struggle in hand-to-hand combat
(intr foll by with) to cope or contendto grapple with a financial problem
(tr) to secure with a grapple


any form of hook or metal instrument by which something is secured, such as a grapnel
  1. the act of gripping or seizing, as in wrestling
  2. a grip or hold
a contest of grappling, esp a wrestling match
Derived Formsgrappler, noun

Word Origin for grapple

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



late 13c., from Old French grapil "hook" (see grapnel). The verb is 1520s, "seize and hold fast," from the noun. Sense of "battle, struggle (with)" is from 1590s. Related: Grappled; grappling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper