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See more synonyms for apprehend on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to take into custody; arrest by legal warrant or authority: The police apprehended the burglars.
  2. to grasp the meaning of; understand, especially intuitively; perceive.
  3. to expect with anxiety, suspicion, or fear; anticipate: apprehending violence.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to understand.
  2. to be apprehensive, suspicious, or fearful; fear.
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Origin of apprehend

1350–1400; Middle English apprehenden < Latin apprehendere to grasp, equivalent to ap- ap-1 + prehendere to seize (pre- pre- + -hendere to grasp)
Related formsap·pre·hend·er, nounre·ap·pre·hend, verbun·ap·pre·hend·ed, adjectiveun·ap·pre·hend·ing, adjective
Can be confusedapprehend comprehend
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for unapprehended

Historical Examples

  • One of these things is not said amiss; and I think also that the other is not unapprehended by me.

    Essays and Miscellanies


  • And for himself something, he could not adequately tell what, was as clear to him as a road of light to unapprehended certainties.

    Old Crow

    Alice Brown

  • All day, while bustling about other matters, he had groped toward this unapprehended thought.

  • The Colonel had moreover a sense of security that unapprehended malefactors cannot feel.

  • It awakens and enlarges the mind itself by rendering it the receptacle of a thousand unapprehended combinations of thought.

British Dictionary definitions for unapprehended


  1. (tr) to arrest and escort into custody; seize
  2. to perceive or grasp mentally; understand
  3. (tr) to await with fear or anxiety; dread
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Word Origin

C14: from Latin apprehendere to lay hold of
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 unapprehended



mid-14c., "to grasp in the senses or mind," from Old French aprendre (12c.) "teach; learn; take, grasp; acquire," or directly from Latin apprehendere "to take hold of, grasp," from ad- "to" + prehendere "to seize" (see prehensile). Metaphoric extension to "seize with the mind" took place in Latin, and was the sole sense of cognate Old French aprendre (Modern French apprendre "to learn, to be informed about;" also cf. apprentice). Original sense returned in English in meaning "to seize in the name of the law, arrest," recorded from 1540s, which use probably was taken directly from Latin. Related: Apprehended; apprehending.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper