grasp

[grasp, grahsp]

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

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.

noun


Origin of grasp

1350–1400; Middle English graspen, grapsen; cognate with Low German grapsen; akin to Old English gegræppian to seize (see grapple)
Related formsgrasp·a·ble, adjectivegrasp·er, noungrasp·less, adjectivere·grasp, verb (used with object)un·grasp·a·ble, adjectiveun·grasped, adjective

Synonyms for grasp

1. grip, clutch; grab. 9. clutches. 10. scope, comprehension.

Synonym study

1. See catch. 10. Grasp, reach refer to the power of seizing, either concretely or figuratively. Grasp suggests actually seizing and closing the hand upon something (or, figuratively, thoroughly comprehending something) and therefore refers to what is within one's possession or immediate possibility of possession: a good grasp of a problem; immense mental grasp. Reach suggests a stretching out of (usually) the hand to touch, strike, or, if possible, seize something; it therefore refers to a potentiality of possession that requires an effort. Figuratively, it implies perhaps a faint conception of something still too far beyond one to be definitely and clearly understood.

Antonyms for grasp

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for graspable

Historical Examples of graspable

  • She had the air of snatching at that as something concrete, graspable.

    The Lovely Lady

    Mary Austin

  • In the projecting instant, time and the graspable realities had both been annihilated.

    The Real Man

    Francis Lynde


British Dictionary definitions for graspable

grasp

verb

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

noun

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
Derived Formsgraspable, adjectivegrasper, noun

Word Origin for grasp

C14: from Low German grapsen; related to Old English græppian to seize, Old Norse grāpa to steal
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 graspable

grasp

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with graspable

grasp

In addition to the idiom beginning with grasp

  • grasp at straws

also see:

  • get a fix on (grasp of)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.