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

  • intransitive verb To take hold of or seize firmly with the hand, the foot, another body part, or an instrument.
  • intransitive verb To hold with the arms; embrace.
  • intransitive verb To take hold of intellectually; comprehend. synonym: understand.
  • intransitive verb To make a motion of seizing, snatching, or clutching.
  • intransitive verb To show eager and prompt willingness or acceptance.
  • noun The act of grasping.
  • noun A firm hold or grip.
  • noun An embrace.
  • noun The ability or power to seize or attain; reach.
  • noun Understanding; comprehension.
  • idiom (grasp) To search in desperation for a solution to a difficulty.
  • idiom (grasp the nettle) To take on a difficult problem directly and energetically.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To seize and hold by clasping or embracing with the fingers or arms.
  • To seize upon; take possession of.
  • To seize by the intellect; become thoroughly cognizant of; comprehend.
  • To make a grasp, or the motion of grasping; seize something firmly or eagerly.
  • noun A grip or seizure by the hand; the act of taking or attempting to take hold of something.
  • noun Power of seizing and holding; forcible possession.
  • noun Power of the intellect to seize and comprehend subjects; wide-reaching power of comprehension.

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

  • transitive verb To seize and hold by clasping or embracing with the fingers or arms; to catch to take possession of.
  • transitive verb To lay hold of with the mind; to become thoroughly acquainted or conversant with; to comprehend.
  • intransitive verb To effect a grasp; to make the motion of grasping; to clutch; to struggle; to strive.
  • intransitive verb to catch at; to try to seize; as, Alexander grasped at universal empire
  • noun A gripe or seizure of the hand; a seizure by embrace, or infolding in the arms.
  • noun Reach of the arms; hence, the power of seizing and holding.
  • noun Forcible possession; hold.
  • noun Wide-reaching power of intellect to comprehend subjects and hold them under survey.
  • noun The handle of a sword or of an oar.

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

  • verb To grip; to take hold, particularly with the hand.
  • verb To understand.
  • noun grip
  • noun understanding
  • noun that which is accessible; that which is within one's reach or ability

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

  • verb hold firmly
  • verb get the meaning of something
  • noun the act of grasping
  • noun an intellectual hold or understanding
  • noun understanding of the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something
  • noun the limit of capability


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

[Middle English graspen; see ghrebh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Originally "to feel around", possibly metathesis of Old English græpsan "to touch, feel," from Proto-Germanic *graipison.


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