Definition of grab in US English:

grab

verb

[with object]
  • 1Grasp or seize suddenly and roughly.

    ‘she grabbed him by the shirt collar’
    ‘she grabbed her keys and rushed out’
    • ‘He grabs Taylor by the collar of his shirt and roughly yanks him to his feet.’
    • ‘He made a move to break away into the street, and I tried to grab him, catching the end of his shirt.’
    • ‘He seized keys up from the counter and grabbed me by my wrist, yanking me out the door.’
    • ‘I broke off as he grabbed me by the collar and hauled me round a corner into a dark room.’
    • ‘Lauren walked faster, scared now, and she was still trying to place the voices when suddenly she felt someone grab her roughly around the waist.’
    • ‘Paul reached out to grab him and Matt ducked away avoiding the guy's grasp.’
    • ‘Shoving the bills in her pocket she headed for the door quickly grabbing her jacket.’
    • ‘Suddenly he was striding up to Loretta, grabbing her around the waist and hoisting her up over his shoulder.’
    • ‘Sam quickly grabbed hold of Mel when he felt her getting up from the bed.’
    • ‘My brother and I would quickly grab our raincoats (mine was red and his was bright yellow) and our rubber boots, and then would rush out the door.’
    • ‘Suddenly, he grabs her savagely by the arm and throws her at the nearest wall.’
    • ‘He was suddenly caught off guard by someone grabbing him from behind.’
    • ‘He quickly grabbed the magazine from her hands and she told him to look at page 78.’
    • ‘She gasped as she was suddenly grabbed from behind and a hand came up to cover her mouth.’
    • ‘Tristan then grabbed a hold of my hand and led me through the forest.’
    • ‘One of the men lowered his gun and grabbed her roughly by the shoulder.’
    • ‘We come to a gentle stop and as Jack rolls out of his seat, I quickly lean over and grab his wallet out of his back pocket.’
    • ‘He looked around, quickly grabbing his glasses which had also tumbled to the floor, now fully awake.’
    • ‘Then Phil suddenly got up, grabbed Amy off of me and pinned her to the floor.’
    • ‘Suddenly a bunch of big men in suits grabbed him and dragged him to the alley of the casino.’
    • ‘Two pairs of hands grabbed me roughly by the arms and started dragging me up the steps.’
    • ‘Grace quickly grabs the horse's reins before it runs away and calms it before walking to the stranger, who is still sitting on the ground.’
    seize, grasp, snatch, seize hold of, grab hold of, take hold of, catch hold of, lay hold of, lay hands on, lay one's hands on, get one's hands on, take a grip of, fasten round, grapple, grip, clasp, clutch
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    1. 1.1grab at/forno object Make a sudden snatch at.
      ‘he grabbed at the handle, missed, and nearly fell’
      • ‘He brushes past Tom, but the younger man suddenly grabs at his sleeve.’
      • ‘It is another example of how the media grabs at anything especially when pushed by special interests groups.’
      • ‘Then he started grabbing at the door handle and pulled open the door and as it crashed back broke the pane of glass with his fist.’
      • ‘Do NOT chase your chickens around grabbing at their tails or wings.’
      • ‘It didn't really hurt - it felt like a mosquito bite, actually - but he yelped as he twisted around, grabbing at it with both hands.’
      • ‘She grabs for a silk bathrobe just as Simon enters the room.’
      • ‘Both of its double doors are closed, and she grabs at the brass knobs to pull them wide open.’
      • ‘He slides out of the booth and Sophie grabs at his arm to pull him back for a goodbye kiss.’
      • ‘The grin disappears, and he grabs at the bottle, his eyes wide with disbelief.’
      • ‘Letting out a moan, he grabs at the open bottle of pills, some of which spill onto the carpet.’
      • ‘As he sees he coming toward him he grabs for the gun.’
      • ‘Driving down Palm Avenue, Joelle swerves wildly left and right as Delilah grabs at her arms.’
      • ‘What's going through your mind when we're all there screaming, carrying on, grabbing at you, really enjoying ourselves.’
      • ‘He grabs at Alice's dress, trying to pull her, and is now the center of attention.’
      • ‘They're grabbing at something that they think is going to motivate people to get out of their depression and talk about it.’
      • ‘Meg grabs at his hand as he tries to tuck it under his armpit.’
      • ‘He grabs at the clutching hand, but he won't let go of the vital drug.’
      • ‘She grabs at passers-by and points to the music box, her face desperate.’
      • ‘The sudden jerking of the truck caused Blair to grab at his injured side.’
    2. 1.2informal Obtain or get (something) quickly or opportunistically, sometimes unscrupulously.
      ‘I'll grab another drink while there's still time’
      ‘someone's grabbed my seat’
      • ‘The researchers concluded that planning weekly meals and related grocery shopping will help adults resist the fast-meal decisions that lead to grabbing a quick bite.’
      • ‘I quickly grab a seat with Jake and Emily at the rear of the room.’
      • ‘She grabs three shot glasses and we all walk into the living room.’
      • ‘We first stopped off at my house so i could quickly get changed and grab some money.’
      • ‘I grabbed a plate full of sausages and sat down at a table.’
      • ‘I excused myself quickly, grabbing a muesli bar on the way out of the kitchen and I shut myself in what was to become my bedroom.’
      • ‘We headed over to the snack bar to return my bowling shoes and grab lunch before his mother arrived to pick us up.’
      • ‘I can grab whatever you want from the catering truck, and we can eat in here.’
      • ‘Quickly grabbing a bagel, she ran outside to wait for her best friend to pick her up and take her to school.’
      obtain, acquire, come by, carry off, come to have, get, receive, gain, earn, win, come into, come in for, take possession of, take receipt of, be given
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    3. 1.3no object (of a brake on a vehicle) grip the wheel harshly or jerkily.
      ‘the brakes grabbed very badly’
      • ‘Studies have shown that disc brakes grab faster and hold longer than drum brakes.’
  • 2informal usually with negative or in questions Attract the attention of; make an impression on.

    ‘how does that grab you?’
    • ‘But there are so many demonstrations that the people whose attention they are trying to grab barely take notice.’
    • ‘Yep, I'm using an attention grabbing headline again to get you to read the article.’
    • ‘It may not contain much color or anything attention grabbing, but there's just something about it.’
    • ‘If cinematic spectacle grabs eyeballs, then gameplay grabs minds.’
    • ‘I stepped onto the table to help me grab everyone's attention.’
    • ‘Now I get the headlines once or twice a day and only watch on if there's something attention grabbing.’
    • ‘The purpose of this film is to grab the audience's undivided attention, and it accomplishes this fairly well.’
    • ‘I try to strike a balance between attention grabbing and classical designs.’
    • ‘Still, it is goalscorers who win games and grab headlines.’
    • ‘The lyrics are what really grabbed and held my attention as far as this album is concerned.’
    • ‘He was one of the very very few people who would always grab and hold my attention whenever I flicked through channels or stations.’
    • ‘The misdeeds of corporate America grab headlines and generate huge media coverage.’
    • ‘Like it or not, readers in my generation need visuals to grab and guide their attention.’
    • ‘But you have to ask if this understated compact executive car can grab you in the way that you want from a sporty model.’
    • ‘The pretty young things want to grab all the attention and those on the older side are in their own world.’
    • ‘After a little while, if they have failed to grab me, I move on.’
    • ‘He stressed that idea of the event is to grab the public's attention with their favourite acts, rather than to give them a diverse arts festival.’
    • ‘She always found a way to grab everyone's attention, but if you ask me, she doesn't need a big entrance.’
    • ‘Well-crafted work that is creative and well-animated will always grab someone's attention.’
    • ‘The voice is so attention grabbing, right from the first paragraph.’
    make an impression on, have an impact on, influence, affect, leave a mark on, move, stir, rouse, excite, inspire, galvanize
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noun

  • 1in singular A quick sudden clutch or attempt to seize.

    ‘he made a grab at the pistol’
    • ‘He tried to make a grab for her, but she was quick on her feet and he ended up falling flat on his face.’
    • ‘Many companies want to make a quick grab for market share or return on investment, and with high prices both objectives can be harder to achieve.’
    • ‘It was only the quick grab of one of his porters that saves him from the fall.’
    • ‘I made a quick grab for her and pulled her down to the bed with me.’
    • ‘As soon as I put weight on my feet I lost my balance and fell, only a quick grab for the headboard of my bed saved me from crashing to the floor.’
    • ‘Donovan made a grab for his brother and lifted hist shirt to reveal the tell-tale marking.’
    • ‘He hopped down from the porch and made a quick grab for her sleeve.’
    • ‘I shouted over my shoulder as I made a quick grab for my keys and flung open the door.’
    • ‘Look I think it just comes down to a grab for power by the manufacturers.’
    • ‘Faith's apple went flying in the air as she was knocked over, and she had to make a mad grab to catch it before it fell.’
    • ‘When Ken felt a grab, he turned around to face a huge man.’
    • ‘The burgundy-coloured car was carrying four young men and one jumped out of the passenger door and made a grab for her bag containing a purse and cash.’
    • ‘Tristyn noticed the note that Tamara had thrown away, and made a quick grab to get it before Tamara noticed it.’
    lunge for, attempt to grab
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    1. 1.1 An act of obtaining something opportunistically or unscrupulously.
      ‘they used the law to effect a land grab’
      • ‘The foundation of the democracy is crumbling from the weight of the Court's unprecedented grab for power.’
      • ‘The final fight against the power grab will have to be in court.’
      • ‘This rates grab will come from those property owners with higher values in wards like Eastern Bays and Hobson, regardless of their ability to pay.’
      • ‘Palestinians call it a grab for land they want for an independent state.’
      • ‘The new rates grab may yet sharpen ratepayer focus on the performance of the council even more.’
      • ‘The family on my husband's side fled Cuba as Castro made his power grab.’
      • ‘Still, some fears about China's grab for oil reserves are at odds with experts' view of how global oil markets work.’
      • ‘The world sees our inconsistency, and criticizes our policies as a naked, unprincipled grab for power.’
      • ‘The history of Charles Taylor's grab for the presidency is one full of controversy and question.’
      • ‘This corporate grab is nothing but profiteering dressed up in a new suit.’
      • ‘We consent to taxes that remove half of our earnings, plus GST and property taxes, welcome taxes and all sorts of government cash grabs.’
      • ‘Turkish leaders object to any Kurdish grab of Kirkuk, in the country's second biggest oil region and considered by Iraqi Kurds as part of their heartland.’
      • ‘Re-writing the rules of warfare as necessary to fight this unique threat can then be seen as an extension of that power grab.’
      • ‘There has been the privatisation of whole estates and a grab for land which is earmarked purely for luxury development.’
      • ‘The DIY Arts Show hopes to give arts practitioners a space to speak about their projects in more than a 3 minute sound grab.’
      • ‘Vermonter Howard Dean's grab for the redneck vote has won him just the kind of support he doesn't want: white supremacists.’
      • ‘The movie Chinatown is a fictionalized account of that land and water grab.’
      • ‘Hubbard and Hucker's rates grab is in fact a family budget buster, as homeowners will struggle to pay the extra money to pay for the spending increases.’
      • ‘What he failed to explain was the damage that such a short-term corporate grab would do to the public good.’
      • ‘So we can expect a big corporate grab of our public works, while our tax dollars go to buy high-tech ways to kill people in far away places.’
    2. 1.2Computing usually with modifier A frame of video or television footage, digitized and stored as a still image in a computer memory for subsequent display, printing, or editing.
      ‘a screen grab from Wednesday's program’
      • ‘One exception could be the ability to take screen grabs from live video and ship them immediately via e-mail.’
      • ‘The exhibit features a mélange of mediums, including drawings, photocopied photographs and video frame grabs.’
      • ‘Screen grabs and extensive appendices illustrate these tutorials which are clearly presented, if a little poorly signposted.’
      • ‘They had used video grabs taken 2km into the march every three minutes throughout the five hour event.’
      • ‘Tom has a screen grab of the document and notes on the experience.’
  • 2A mechanical device for clutching, lifting, and moving things, especially materials in bulk.

    • ‘The lessons had still not been learned by November the following year, when the mechanical grab ripped up part of a late medieval barge near Trig Stairs.’
    • ‘Their modern tracked cranes equipped with grabs and magnets can be seen operating at the dockside in Sligo harbour.’
    1. 2.1as modifier Denoting a bar or strap for people to hold on to for support or in a moving vehicle.
      ‘for elderly people, grab rails at strategic places are likely to prevent accidents’
      • ‘How do I add grab bars to my tile shower without destroying the entire wall in the shower?’
      • ‘Elsewhere removal of tripping hazards, installing grab bars and living on a single floor all help.’
      • ‘There are ample and well-placed grab handles for front and rear passengers.’
      • ‘Wall-mounted units can break away when subjected to the patient's weight unless they are reinforced with grab bars.’
      • ‘I breathe a secret sigh of relief and recover my composure in the back seat, and release my grip on the grab handle.’
      • ‘A fall in a shower or bath without a suction fixed rubber mat or grab bars is dangerous.’
      • ‘With very few exceptions, all trains of this type have bench seating and large numbers of grab handles.’
      • ‘A person who may desire a vertical grab bar can screw it in place and be confident that the bar is secure.’
      • ‘She is stronger, able to stand using a grab rail, and her writing is all but fully restored.’
      • ‘If the cylinder is mounted too far below the grab bar, or too far from the toilet, reaching it can be difficult, even hazardous.’
      • ‘There is no retractable leather grab handle to steady a passenger's nerves.’
      • ‘Access to the cab is improved with a wider step and larger grab handles.’
      • ‘On rough terrain, no fewer than eight grab handles are available to help passengers steady themselves.’

Phrases

  • up for grabs

    • informal Available; obtainable.

      ‘great prizes up for grabs’
      • ‘There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs so get dressed up and come along.’
      • ‘There is a top prize of £100 up for grabs for the best amateur photograph of the festival.’
      • ‘Then there will be a fundraising auction and raffle with prizes up for grabs.’
      • ‘Heaps of prizes are up for grabs, and it is open to all ages and styles for soloists, duos and bands.’
      • ‘Admission is free and there will be a number of prizes up for grabs on the night.’
      • ‘So far we're delighted with the response but then again there is a great prize up for grabs.’
      • ‘A winner will be drawn at each meeting and there are a variety of attractive prizes up for grabs.’
      • ‘The competition features nine categories and there are plenty of cash prizes up for grabs.’
      • ‘Winners receive rosettes and a selection of prizes will be up for grabs.’
      • ‘Prizes including television sets and jewellery will be up for grabs in a raffle.’
      available, obtainable, to be had, there for the taking
      View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century: from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch grabben; perhaps related to grip, gripe, and grope.

Pronunciation

grab

/ɡrab//ɡræb/