- to seize and hold by or as if by clasping with the fingers or arms.
- to seize upon; hold firmly.
- to get hold of mentally; comprehend; understand: I don't grasp your meaning.
- to make an attempt to seize, or a motion of seizing, something (usually followed by at or for): a drowning man grasping at straws; to grasp for an enemy's rifle.
- the act of grasping or gripping, as with the hands or arms: to make a grasp at something.
- a hold or grip: to have a firm grasp of a rope.
- one's arms or hands, in embracing or gripping: He took her in his grasp.
- one's power of seizing and holding; reach: to have a thing within one's grasp.
- hold, possession, or mastery: to wrest power from the grasp of a usurper.
- mental hold or capacity; power to understand.
- broad or thorough comprehension: a good grasp of computer programming.
Origin of grasp
SynonymsSee more synonyms for grasp on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for grasp
And the more she is forced to recount, the more her grasp of reality slips, or heightens, depending on your point of view.A Novel Nearly Impossible to Review
December 28, 2014
The grasp on the sabre would tighten; the quiet eyes would flash.Stonewall Jackson, VMI’s Most Embattled Professor
S. C. Gwynne
November 29, 2014
Just a few months ago my 3-year-old son, mid-tantrum, broke my grasp to run from me in a crowded subway station.Why Adrian Peterson Changed My Mind on Spanking
September 17, 2014
But opting for immediate gratification and having the universe influence our agenda keep long-term goals outside our grasp.Willpower: Our Greatest Strength?
September 11, 2014
Instead, he wanted viewers to grasp that “this spring from which Mother Courage drank death was a polluted one.”Brecht's Mercenary Mother Courage Turns 75
September 10, 2014
His grasp did not bruise, it did not seem to be tight; but the hand that held it was immovable.
His grasp of details delighted Uncle Peter and surprised Coplen.
Haley had grasped him by the shoulder, and in his grasp the boy's strength was nothing.Brave and Bold
No one will deny that the Buddhist, the Mahometan, the Confucianist, have their grasp of truth.The Conquest of Fear
How will he despise what he can grasp, for the sake of the dim glory that eludes him!Other Tales and Sketches
- to grip (something) firmly with or as if with the hands
- (when intr, often foll by at) to struggle, snatch, or grope (for)
- (tr) to understand, esp with effort
- the act of grasping
- a grip or clasp, as of a hand
- the capacity to accomplish (esp in the phrase within one's grasp)
- total rule or possession
- understanding; comprehension
Word Origin and History for grasp
mid-14c., "to reach for, feel around," possibly a metathesis of grapsen, from Old English *græpsan "to touch, feel," from Proto-Germanic *grap-, *grab- (cf. East Frisian grapsen "to grasp," Middle Dutch grapen "to seize, grasp," Old English grapian "to touch, feel, grope"), from PIE root *ghrebh- (see grab). Sense of "seize" first recorded mid-16c. Figurative use from c.1600; of intellectual matters from 1680s. Related: Grasped; grasping. The noun is from 1560s.
Idioms and Phrases with grasp
In addition to the idiom beginning with grasp
- grasp at straws
- get a fix on (grasp of)