• synonyms


[pri-hen-shuh n]
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  1. the act of seizing or grasping.
  2. mental apprehension.
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Origin of prehension

1525–35; < Latin prehēnsiōn- (stem of prehēnsiō) a taking hold, equivalent to prehēns(us) (past participle of prehendere to seize, equivalent to pre- pre- + -hendere to grasp; akin to get) + -iōn- -ion
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for prehension

Historical Examples

  • Having for its function the narrowing of the orifice it surrounds, it acts during suction and in the prehension of food.

    Artistic Anatomy of Animals

    douard Cuyer

  • The mantis reminds one of a small, green monkey, the fore pair of legs being well developed and used in prehension.

  • Both toad and crayfish have organs for the prehension of food, its digestion and its assimilation.

  • The extensions of the body-substance which are put forth by the Rhizopoda at will, and which serve for locomotion and prehension.

  • Upon this emancipation followed the liberation of jaws and mouth from their use as organs of prehension.

    Prehistoric Man

    W. L. H. Duckworth

British Dictionary definitions for prehension


  1. the act of grasping
  2. apprehension by the senses or the mind
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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 prehension


1530s, "seizure, arrest," from Latin prehensionem (nominative prehensio), noun of action from past participle stem of prehendere (see prehensile). Use in philosophy is from 1925.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

prehension in Medicine


  1. The act of grasping or seizing.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.