Definition of grasp in English:

grasp

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Seize and hold firmly:

    ‘she grasped the bottle’
    ‘Edward grasped her by the wrist’
    • ‘Sarah grasped Matthew firmly round the waist, pulling him towards the stairs.’
    • ‘I stared at his hand, and after a beat of silence, grasped it firmly, my eyes twinkling dangerously.’
    • ‘Avon grasped the Divine Crystal firmly in his hands and scanned the landscape, but was unable to see anything.’
    • ‘Michael quickly fell asleep in his bed, his hand grasping mine which was clutching back frantically.’
    • ‘Robin reached out, grasped it firmly again, and started to take a step forward.’
    • ‘He extends a limp hand which Sharon grasps firmly.’
    • ‘But as Jack drew near, he saw that the reins were firmly grasped in one hand, as if the rider had been riding Western style.’
    • ‘On the way, Daryn's hand snaked over to mine and grasped mine firmly, giving it a squeeze, which I returned.’
    • ‘He rushed to the scene with the container firmly grasped in his hand.’
    • ‘Use the most accessible implement at your disposal which can be grasped firmly by hand.’
    • ‘Her eyes pleaded with him, her hand still firmly grasping his.’
    • ‘Its long, smooth blade glints in the lights as she grasps the handle firmly in both hands.’
    • ‘John grasped Rob firmly by the wrist and moved toward the door.’
    • ‘She ran her pencil down the paper that was firmly grasped in her left hand.’
    • ‘Still firmly grasping Ethan by the arm, Giles propelled him to Melissa's side.’
    • ‘She turned and grasped him firmly, making ready to fly him to safety.’
    • ‘I grasped his hand firmly and he walked up to the desk.’
    • ‘I stepped forward and grasped the letter-opener firmly, then pulled it out of his hands.’
    • ‘Her blood-red lips and hooded eyes, her large hands firmly grasping the wheel, all convey a woman in control of her destiny.’
    • ‘The two men - who Rob later found out were orderlies - firmly grasped Rob by his arms and carried him out to the car.’
    grip, clutch, clasp, hold, clench, lay hold of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Take (an opportunity) eagerly:
      ‘many companies grasped the opportunity to expand’
      • ‘Similarly, the opportunity should be grasped to ease internal tensions.’
      • ‘Whether or not we shall grasp the opportunities to do so is entirely a different matter.’
      • ‘Would-be entrepreneurs can pick up advice on how to make a million by attending a course which will tackle the blend of skills they need to grasp opportunities that may crop up.’
      • ‘Better still, it provided the facilities to get to know them better and we grasped the opportunity to quiz some of this year's new faces.’
      • ‘Private operators have grasped this opportunity, attracting new medical talent from as far afield as Canada, South Africa and the US.’
      • ‘The uncertainties and hazards that made war so unpredictable and uncontrollable were not barriers to be eliminated but opportunities to be grasped and exploited.’
      • ‘Yet he has grasped his opportunities and appears genuinely keen to learn from the opportunity to work with some of the most established stars in the industry.’
      • ‘However, David is ready to grasp his opportunity should it be presented.’
      • ‘‘Life is all about grasping opportunities,’ she says, which explains how she wound up owning a hotel.’
      • ‘"We will grasp such an opportunity to provide local economic development with greater momentum, " he said.’
      • ‘There's no need to run to the law for change, there are people trying to cater for you and you fail to grasp your opportunities.’
      • ‘If we do not grasp this opportunity we will be doing a disservice to the residents of this borough.’
      • ‘To fail to grasp these opportunities really is truly criminal.’
      • ‘The Party eagerly grasped the opportunity to use his celebrity status to raise its public profile.’
      • ‘It is our intention to work closely in partnership to grasp this opportunity to inject renewed momentum into the process.’
      • ‘The attitude of the local council is lamentable in not grasping this opportunity with both hands.’
      • ‘Unfortunately most of them didn't appear to want to grasp that opportunity.’
      • ‘Let's just say that I am not slow to grasp the opportunities which this affords.’
      • ‘Training opportunities are also grasped, from the routine business of minehunting to casualty-handling, salvage and firefighting.’
      • ‘There is a warning there that we could fall behind, but there is also an opportunity to be grasped.’
      take advantage of, act on
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Comprehend fully:
      ‘the press failed to grasp the significance of what had happened’
      • ‘Without this crucial element, we can never expect to grasp fully the workings of large-group psychology.’
      • ‘I don't think people have fully grasped the significance of what's occurred.’
      • ‘This seems so obvious that it is a surprise when scientists don't grasp this very simple idea.’
      • ‘I know that this state of affairs is not fully grasped by the general public in Europe and North America.’
      • ‘The ultimate power of advances such as cable and satellite could not be fully grasped in the 1960s.’
      • ‘Here again, the significance of this development can only be fully grasped on the basis of Marx's analysis of the commodity form.’
      • ‘At that time, this fact had not been fully grasped by some of the more traditional sporting bodies.’
      • ‘It was all so above her understanding, but somehow she knew that they loved each other, in some way that could never be fully grasped.’
      • ‘However, their profundity is usually very elusive and it may take weeks, months or even years to fully grasp their significance.’
      • ‘Nations without our long history of a free press may not grasp this.’
      • ‘Security is a complex science that most fail to grasp comprehensively.’
      • ‘In general, most patients fail to fully grasp and follow even basic health care instructions.’
      • ‘Fully grasping a concept involves understanding its relationships to other concepts.’
      • ‘Although the basic ideas can be grasped relatively quickly, the full method takes longer to absorb.’
      • ‘That is something that I think some previous speakers in this debate seem to have not grasped as fully as they might.’
      • ‘As with an ancient ritual, the meanings of this game cannot be fully grasped.’
      • ‘I use irrational here to mean something which human reason is ill-equipped to grasp or comprehend, but which may nonetheless play an important role in human affairs.’
      • ‘I sensed that she had fully grasped what I was proposing, and she was already mentally writing a floor speech in support of such a bill.’
      • ‘Further, what is infinitely great cannot be fully grasped by our finite minds.’
      • ‘The result is spectacular, breathtaking, and needs to be seen to be grasped fully.’
      understand, comprehend, follow, take in, realize, perceive, see, apprehend, assimilate, absorb, make sense of, master, get to the bottom of, penetrate
      View synonyms

noun

  • 1[in singular] A firm hold or grip:

    ‘the child slipped from her grasp’
    • ‘Scott stepped forward, and took my hand in a firm grasp, kissing it lightly.’
    • ‘I ran harder, but Jessica's war cry rung in my ears and she collided into me, taking a firm grasp of my arm and pulled me in a rather strong headlock.’
    • ‘With that, he moved his fingers to have a firmer grasp on the gun.’
    • ‘Once or twice her feet lost their footing, but with a firm grasp of the rope, Charlie was able to regain her balance, and continue repelling downward.’
    • ‘I just want to run through the aisles, and that is exactly what I would do, if only Chester didn't have her hand in a firm grasp around my wrist.’
    • ‘He placed a firm grasp on her shoulders and looked into her eyes that were welled with tears.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, Jonathan had a firm grasp on one of Angela's thighs.’
    • ‘Matching his actions, she took it in a firm grasp and shook it quickly.’
    • ‘He had a firm grasp on her arm, but when she turned to him, he avoided her gaze.’
    • ‘He stepped out of the shadows, but a firm grasp of his arm pulled him backward again.’
    • ‘Each of the sailors had a firm grasp on her elbows and shoulders, and she attempted to kick them away, but missed.’
    • ‘All students are accompanied by the instructor who has a firm grasp on them and on an anchor line to make sure they don't go up too fast and damage their eardrums.’
    • ‘After an eternity, I somehow managed to pull my hand from my mother's grasp.’
    • ‘The child squirmed free of the man's grasp and fell to the ground.’
    • ‘His grasp was firm, but not painful, until he took her by the wrist.’
    • ‘She tried to rip her wrist out of his grip but his grasp was too firm.’
    • ‘Putting a firm grasp around his waist, she practically dragged him into the joining room across the splintering and cracked floorboards.’
    • ‘Jason put his hands on Jed's shoulder and took a firm grasp.’
    • ‘His gaze quickly shifted down to the journal in the blond man's grasp.’
    • ‘It felt like I was suffocating, like someone had taken a firm grasp around my throat and wasn't thinking about letting go anytime soon.’
    grip, hold
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person's power or capacity to attain something:
      ‘he knew success was within his grasp’
      • ‘Many top jobs are within the grasp of historians.’
      • ‘To come back from a seven point deficit may have been just about within the grasp of the West side but now they had a mountain to climb’
      • ‘Classical dance and music are no longer elitist, but within the grasp of middle income Indians.’
      • ‘With technology within the grasp of the artist herself, the ramifications are massive.’
      • ‘That's our court, that's within our jurisdiction, within our grasp.’
      • ‘Tasmania's State Library in Hobart has placed some of the state's most precious musical heritage within the grasp of music lovers everywhere.’
      • ‘For those within the grasp of capital, however, more is necessary than simply to understand the nature of capital and its roots in exploitation.’
      • ‘Then, as now, good writing is within the grasp of those who seek it.’
      • ‘Jargon is used to put up a smokescreen, hiding principles which are well within the grasp of the average citizen.’
      • ‘All of it started to assemble, speeding up, the grasp on his power lost.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, even international destinations are within the grasp of cycle commuters.’
      • ‘But the grasp of politicians on power is not likely to loosen quickly and the alternative democratic leadership is slow to develop.’
      • ‘We are surrounded by saleable items whose availability is within the grasp of our hands.’
      • ‘Living in a work of art is a luxury always available to the rich, but also within the grasp of anyone who is in the habit of saving for a holiday.’
      • ‘It's brought being on television within the grasp of the common people, and that's exciting for us.’
      • ‘It is not unattainable, it is within the reach and grasp of all who strive and aspire to have it.’
      • ‘There are those who snigger that it was a fine strategy by the old comrades, who have perfected the art of using each other for keeping power within their grasp.’
      • ‘Many are walking around dazed and bewildered at the shape of things and the grasp of power.’
      • ‘I suppose being within the grasp of freedom will do that to you.’
      • ‘Yes, I suppose it is, but it's also achievable and is within the grasp of the farming and rural communities throughout the county and beyond.’
      reach, scope, capacity, power, limits, range, compass
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A person's understanding:
      ‘meanings that are beyond my grasp’
      ‘his grasp of detail’
      • ‘Players are intelligent, have vision and an incredible grasp of reality because it's called livelihood.’
      • ‘His grasp of the details of the project and his excellent writing skills should combine to produce a highly readable book for creationist laymen.’
      • ‘And we are not seeing what is actually there in the real time of stars, a concept quite beyond my grasp.’
      • ‘True love is the elation that comes of true knowledge, an intuitive grasp of the world.’
      • ‘He liked David and they got on well together, as he invented games and lent him books which he saw and asked to borrow, even though Li felt they were beyond the grasp of a child.’
      • ‘We have also included a graph and table which are not beyond the grasp of even the less than numerate.’
      • ‘Consequences are incurred which damage our children and our society far beyond the grasp of most commentators.’
      • ‘But most people understood her grasp on the position was tenuous at best.’
      • ‘You have to understand and have a grasp of what is going to happen.’
      • ‘In other words, if we lack an emotional grasp of a concept, the intellectual awareness alone may not suffice to deter us from repeating a mistake.’
      • ‘Some of the matters I cover even seem to be beyond the grasp of a lot of my academic colleagues.’
      • ‘But what so many commentators fail to grasp is an understanding of the experience of an athlete at the height of his powers, and in doing so they are losing sight of the appeal of sport.’
      • ‘Although I can see that there is an image contained upon it, the details remain beyond my grasp.’
      • ‘They were encouraged to solve their own problems, which, I suspect, gave them an intuitive grasp of the concept that not all problems can be solved.’
      • ‘The more she recalls - and she seems to have a vivid grasp of details - the more pained she seems by her weakness and denial.’
      • ‘He delegated to junior ministers, but retained a formidable grasp of the policy details.’
      • ‘They have an excellent sense of expediency and grasp of the details which enables them to make quick, effective decisions.’
      • ‘He is favourably disposed to rivers and canals, exhibiting an impressive grasp of detail.’
      • ‘He also displayed a good grasp of the detail of the issues covered.’
      • ‘Linux novices often find virtual memory mysterious, but with a grasp of the fundamental concepts, it's easy to understand.’
      understanding, comprehension, perception, apprehension, awareness, grip, conception, realization, knowledge, cognizance, ken
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • grasp at straws

  • grasp the nettle

    • Tackle a difficulty boldly.

      • ‘The problems facing it will only get worse until someone grasps the nettle.’
      • ‘He warned the country could be facing another crisis unless the next Government grasps the nettle of public spending.’
      • ‘The new parish council is grasping the nettle to deal with vandalism.’
      • ‘They have had ten years to see it coming and, if they had only grasped the nettle, providing separate areas and adequate ventilation, all could have co-existed in relative peace and mutual comfort.’
      • ‘I think the Government has really grasped the nettle, because this is a major issue for everybody now.’
      • ‘Tackling mental health, grasping the nettle of introducing rights-based legislation will come at a cost.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I am pleased that the Prime Minister is now re-examining my proposals but we shall see whether the Government really grasps the nettle regarding this issue.’’
      • ‘Still, grasping the nettle like this is probably his only chance, slim though it is.’
      • ‘But she said: ‘I cannot accept the fact that no one grasped the nettle and took charge of clarifying the issue.’’
      • ‘We have not grasped the nettle and got down to reorganising how our services are delivered - 99 per cent of staff want to do that but we haven't been able to.’

Origin

Late Middle English: perhaps related to grope.

Pronunciation

grasp

/ɡrɑːsp/