from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An iron shaft with claws at one end, usually thrown by a rope and used for grasping and holding, especially one for drawing and holding an enemy ship alongside.
  • noun Any of various grasping devices having hinged tines or jaws that close around an object or load, used especially in lifting or dragging heavy items.
  • noun The act of grappling.
  • noun A struggle or contest in which the participants attempt to wrestle with each other by clutching or gripping.
  • noun A struggle for superiority or dominance.
  • intransitive verb To seize and hold with a grapple.
  • intransitive verb To seize firmly with the hands.
  • intransitive verb To hold onto something with a grapple.
  • intransitive verb To use a grapple or similar device, as for dragging.
  • intransitive verb To wrestle with an opponent by clutching or gripping.
  • intransitive verb To struggle or work hard to deal with something.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun plural Small iron dogs, joined by a short chain, which are driven into logs near the end when skidding on mountains, so that several logs may be skidded by one horse at the same time. Also called chain-grapples, coupling-grab.
  • noun See skidding-tongs.
  • noun A hook or an iron instrument by which one thing, as a ship, fastens on another; a grapnel.
  • noun A clasping-hook for grasping a beam, used in suspending the blocks or hoisting apparatus of a hay-fork.
  • noun Large tongs with sharp points used for various purposes, as for lifting blocks of ice.
  • noun The clasp of a buckle.
  • noun A spring fish-hook.
  • noun A seizing or gripping; especially, a close hold in wrestling, and hence in any other contest; a close fight or encounter.
  • To seize or grasp with a grapple; lay fast hold on with mechanical appliances or with the hands: as, to grapple an antagonist.
  • Synonyms To gripe, grasp, catch, clutch, clasp.
  • To fasten on another, or on each other, as ships, by some mechanical means, as grappling-irons; seize another, or each other, in a close grip, as in wrestling; clinch: often used figuratively.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To seize; to lay fast hold of; to attack at close quarters: as, to grapple an antagonist.
  • transitive verb To fasten, as with a grapple; to fix; to join indissolubly.
  • intransitive verb To use a grapple; to contend in close fight; to attach one's self as if by a grapple, as in wrestling; to close; to seize one another.
  • intransitive verb to enter into contest with, resolutely and courageously.
  • noun A seizing or seizure; close hug in contest; the wrestler's hold.
  • noun An instrument, usually with hinged claws, for seizing and holding fast to an object; a grab.
  • noun (Naut.) A grappling iron.
  • noun (Bot.) a South African herb (Herpagophytum leptocarpum) having the woody fruits armed with long hooked or barbed thorns by which they adhere to cattle, causing intense annoyance.
  • noun (Life-saving Service) a projectile, to which are attached hinged claws to catch in a ship's rigging or to hold in the ground; -- called also anchor shot.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To seize something and hold it firmly.
  • verb transitive, figuratively to ponder and intensely evaluate a problem; normally used with "with".
  • verb intransitive To use a grapple.
  • verb intransitive To wrestle or tussle.
  • noun nautical A device consisting of iron claws, attached to the end of a rope, used for grasping and holding an enemy ship prior to boarding; a grapnel or grappling iron.
  • noun uncountable The act of grappling.
  • noun A close hand-to-hand struggle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a dredging bucket with hinges like the shell of a clam
  • verb come to terms with
  • noun the act of engaging in close hand-to-hand combat
  • verb to grip or seize, as in a wrestling match
  • noun a tool consisting of several hooks for grasping and holding; often thrown with a rope


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English grapel, from Old French grapil, diminutive of grape, hook; see grape.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English *grapplen (“to seize, lay hold of”), from Old English *græpplian (“to seize”) (compare Old English ġegræppian ("to seize")), from Proto-Germanic *graipilōnan, *grabbalōnan (“to seize”), from Proto-Indo-European *ghreb(h)-, *ghrab(h)- (“to take, seize, rake”). Cognate with Dutch grabbelen ("to grope, scramble, scrabble"), German grabbeln ("to rummage, grope about"), German grapsen, grapschen ("to seize, grasp, grabble"). Influenced in some senses by grapple ("hook", noun) (see below). More at grasp.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English *grapple, *graple, from Old French grappil ("a ship's grapple") (compare Old French grappin ("hook")), from Old French grape, grappe, crape ("hook"), of Germanic origin, from Old Frankish *krappo (“hook”), from Proto-Germanic *krappô, *krappan (“hook”), from Proto-Indo-European *grep- (“hook”), *gremb- (“crooked, uneven”), from Proto-Indo-European *ger- (“to turn, bend, twist”). More at grape.


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  • Ireland, which now faces a budget deficit equal to 32 percent of its economic output, has become a test case for how countries that have spent beyond their means - including the United States and Britain - grapple with massive deficits.

    Ireland to bail out 3 banks, costing billions and renewing fears over deficit Anthony Faiola 2010

  • The future stories that remain grapple with current issues or have a contemporary flavor.

    Take her out, Daddy, she'll murder us all. 2007

  • Bad example, but the grape-apple hybrid they sell at Walmart is referred to as grapple, which is completely unrelated to the serious mental or physical wrestling the original word connotes.

    Welder's helper Nomeclature dudemanflab 2007

  • I shall again grapple with the foe that has thus bereaved me!

    The Scottish Chiefs 1875

  • Complicating matters, there is another fruiting plant called the grapple the pronunciation is, in this case, homonymous.

    The Fruit Hunters Adam Leith Gollner 2008

  • Complicating matters, there is another fruiting plant called the grapple the pronunciation is, in this case, homonymous.

    The Fruit Hunters Adam Leith Gollner 2008

  • Complicating matters, there is another fruiting plant called the grapple the pronunciation is, in this case, homonymous.

    The Fruit Hunters Adam Leith Gollner 2008

  • UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It called a grapple, and it ` s a cross between a grape and an apple.

    CNN Transcript Sep 12, 2007 2007

  • The claws are used in digging out ant-hills; but the beast has courage, and in a grapple is a rather unpleasant enemy, in spite of its toothless mouth, for it can strike a formidable blow with these claws.

    III. A Jaguar-Hunt on the Taquary 1914

  • This can be used to break a grapple that an enemy currently has your partner in or it can be used to knock down the enemy for a ground melee attack.

    IGN Complete 2009


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  • Apple-grapes hybrid.

    (Actually, a Californiansearchengine search tells me that someone else thought about it before me.)

    April 14, 2008

  • See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,

    Nor any unproportioned thought his act.

    Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.

    Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

    Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;

    But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

    Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade.

    - William Shakespeare, 'Hamlet'.

    November 10, 2008

  • I tasted a grapple today. It's an apple that tastes a bit like a concord grape. Actually, I found that it smells more like a grape than it tastes like one. Very delicious though.

    I just noticed that the very large word is now purple. I rather liked the blue...

    November 23, 2009

  • my comment was not posted...

    November 23, 2009

  • Head text is black on the Word page.

    "Out rushed the gnome-like men pulling their grapple, and Connor thrust his body between them and the Princess, taking the fierce rays on his own flesh." — Startling Stories January, 1939.

    Yes, I'd be startled by gnome-like men pulling their grapple.

    November 23, 2009

  • Don't grapple with my grapple!

    November 23, 2009