- to seize suddenly or quickly; snatch; clutch: He grabbed me by the collar.
- to take illegal possession of; seize forcibly or unscrupulously: to grab land.
- to obtain and consume quickly: Let's grab a sandwich before going to the movie.
- to cause a reaction in; affect: How does my idea grab you?
- to arouse the interest or excitement of: The book was O.K., but it just didn't grab me.
- to make a grasping or clutching motion (usually followed by at): He grabbed frantically at the life preserver.
- (of brakes, a clutch, etc.) to take hold suddenly or with a jolting motion; bind.
- a sudden, quick grasp or snatch: to make a grab at something.
- seizure or acquisition by violent or unscrupulous means.
- something that is grabbed.
- a mechanical device for gripping objects.
- the capacity to hold or adhere: The glue was so old it had lost its grab.
- up for grabs, Informal. available to anyone willing to expend the energy to get it: The Republican nomination for mayor was up for grabs.
Origin of grab1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- to seize hold of (something)
- (tr) to seize illegally or unscrupulously
- (tr) to arrest; catch
- (intr) (of a brake or clutch in a vehicle) to grip and release intermittently causing juddering
- (tr) informal to catch the attention or interest of; impress
- the act or an instance of grabbing
- a mechanical device for gripping objects, esp the hinged jaws of a mechanical excavator
- something that is grabbed
- up for grabs informal available to be bought, claimed, or won
Word Origin and History for up for grabs
1777, "thing grabbed;" 1824, "act of grabbing," from grab (v.). Up for grabs attested from 1945 in jive talk.
1580s, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German grabben "to grab," from Proto-Germanic *grab (cf. Old English græppian "to seize," Old Saxon garva, Old High German garba "sheaf," literally "that which is gathered up together"), from PIE *ghrebh- "to seize, reach" (cf. Sanskrit grbhnati "seizes," Old Persian grab- "seize" as possession or prisoner, Old Church Slavonic grabiti "to seize, rob," Lithuanian grebiu "to rake"). Sense of "to get by unscrupulous methods" reinforced by grab game, a kind of swindle, attested from 1846. Related: Grabbed; grabbing.
Idioms and Phrases with up for grabs
up for grabs
Available to anyone, as in Now that he's resigned, his job is up for grabs. This term alludes to something being thrown in the air for anyone to grasp or catch. [Colloquial; 1920s]
In addition to the idiom beginning with grab
- grab bag
- how does that grab you
- up for grabs