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

  • transitive v. To take or grasp suddenly: grabbed the letter from me.
  • transitive v. To capture or restrain; arrest.
  • transitive v. To obtain or appropriate unscrupulously or forcibly: grab public funds; grab power.
  • transitive v. To take hurriedly: grabbed my coat and hat and left.
  • transitive v. Slang To capture the attention of: a plot that grabs the reader.
  • intransitive v. To make a grasping or snatching motion: We grabbed for the life raft.
  • n. Sudden seizure of something or someone; a snatch: "The imminence of death is reflected in every last power-stroke and grab of the great money bosses” ( Dylan Thomas).
  • n. One that is grabbed.
  • n. A mechanical device for gripping an object.
  • idiom up for grabs Slang Available for anyone to take or win: "The reputation of the . . . king is still up for grabs” ( William Zinsser).
  • n. A usually two-masted, square-rigged Arab coastal vessel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to make a sudden grasping or clutching motion (at something)
  • v. to restrain someone; to arrest
  • v. to grip the attention; to enthrall
  • v. to quickly collect or retrieve
  • v. to consume something quickly
  • v. To take the opportunity of.
  • n. a sudden snatch (for something)
  • n. a mechanical device that grabs
  • n. a soundbite

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A vessel used on the Malabar coast, having two or three masts.
  • n. A sudden grasp or seizure.
  • n. An instrument for clutching objects for the purpose of raising them; -- specially applied to devices for withdrawing drills, etc., from artesian and other wells that are drilled, bored, or driven.
  • v. To gripe suddenly; to seize; to snatch; to clutch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To seize forcibly or roughly; grip suddenly; snatch; hence, to get possession of rudely, roughly, forcibly, or illegally.
  • To strike the heel of the front foot with the toe of the hind foot: said of a horse.
  • n. The act of grabbing; a sudden grasp or seizure; a catch; hence, acquisition by violent, dishonest, or corrupt means.
  • n. Something that is grabbed or obtained by grabbing.
  • n. A mechanical device for gripping an object; a grip. Specifically
  • n. A vessel used on the Malabar coast, having two or three masts.
  • n. A form of dredger-bucket used for digging soft materials; a clam-shell bucket.
  • n. plural Same as skidding-tongs.
  • n. In forestry, the stem of an alder, or other small tree, which is bent over and plugged into a hole bored in a boom-stick, or secured in some other way, to hold a boom or logs inshore.
  • n. A children's game at cards, in which, when two or more cards of equal value are on the table together, the player who is quickest to recognize and grab them adds them to his own hand.

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

  • v. make a grasping or snatching motion with the hand
  • v. obtain illegally or unscrupulously
  • v. capture the attention or imagination of
  • n. a mechanical device for gripping an object
  • v. take hold of so as to seize or restrain or stop the motion of
  • v. get hold of or seize quickly and easily
  • n. the act of catching an object with the hands
  • v. take or grasp suddenly


Obsolete Dutch or Low German grabben, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German; see ghrebh-1 in Indo-European roots.
Arabic ġurāb, raven, swift galley; see ġrb in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle Dutch grabben ("to grab") or Middle Low German grabben ("to snap"), from Proto-Germanic *grab-, from Proto-Indo-European *gʰerebʰ- (compare Sanskrit गृह्णाति (gṛhṇāti, "he seizes"), गृभ्णाति (gṛbhṇāti)). Cognate with Danish grabbe ("to grab"), Swedish grabba ("to grab"), Old English ġegræppian ("to seize"). (Wiktionary)



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