Definition of grasp in English:

grasp

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Seize and hold firmly.

    ‘she grasped the bottle’
    • ‘She ran her pencil down the paper that was firmly grasped in her left hand.’
    • ‘Its long, smooth blade glints in the lights as she grasps the handle firmly in both hands.’
    • ‘Avon grasped the Divine Crystal firmly in his hands and scanned the landscape, but was unable to see anything.’
    • ‘Sarah grasped Matthew firmly round the waist, pulling him towards the stairs.’
    • ‘I stepped forward and grasped the letter-opener firmly, then pulled it out of his hands.’
    • ‘He rushed to the scene with the container firmly grasped in his hand.’
    • ‘Her blood-red lips and hooded eyes, her large hands firmly grasping the wheel, all convey a woman in control of her destiny.’
    • ‘Robin reached out, grasped it firmly again, and started to take a step forward.’
    • ‘John grasped Rob firmly by the wrist and moved toward the door.’
    • ‘She turned and grasped him firmly, making ready to fly him to safety.’
    • ‘He extends a limp hand which Sharon grasps firmly.’
    • ‘Still firmly grasping Ethan by the arm, Giles propelled him to Melissa's side.’
    • ‘I stared at his hand, and after a beat of silence, grasped it firmly, my eyes twinkling dangerously.’
    • ‘Her eyes pleaded with him, her hand still firmly grasping his.’
    • ‘On the way, Daryn's hand snaked over to mine and grasped mine firmly, giving it a squeeze, which I returned.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The two men - who Rob later found out were orderlies - firmly grasped Rob by his arms and carried him out to the car.’
    • ‘I grasped his hand firmly and he walked up to the desk.’
    • ‘Use the most accessible implement at your disposal which can be grasped firmly by hand.’
    • ‘Michael quickly fell asleep in his bed, his hand grasping mine which was clutching back frantically.’
    grip, clutch, clasp, hold, clench, lay hold of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1grasp at[no object] Try to seize hold of.
      ‘they grasped at each other with numbed fingers’
      ‘they had grasped at any means to overthrow him’
      • ‘The two cavalrymen whirled their horses, grasping at their maces and trotting toward Viro, fitted with the malice of the near-vanquished.’
      • ‘Her hands clenched and unclenched at her sides, grasping at the silk of her sari as she struggled for something to say to this man who was supposed to be of lesser rank than her as she believed.’
      • ‘You're not even grasping at my hand as if you were scared.’
      • ‘Well, the downsides, I think, come later on in life, like I mentioned at the beginning of this interview, is when you try to keep grasping at early success and not realizing you have to recreate yourself.’
      • ‘‘I'm so out of shape,’ she gasped, grasping at her side.’
      • ‘He grasps at a possible answer, not even sure exactly what he is saying.’
      • ‘Barnabas reaches the empty spot where she was standing and grasps at the air, lamenting ‘No Sarah!’’
      • ‘His false teeth had been taken from him and as he stood in the dock, badgered unmercifully by the venomous chief judge, he kept grasping at his trousers to keep them from falling down.’
      • ‘He began to walk toward one of the doorways that led out of the room, grasping at his stomach with one hand while attempting to ‘fend off’ the random objects that seemed to impede his progress with the other one.’
      • ‘‘I don't understand,’ she said weakly, her hands grasping at the fabric of red gown for support.’
      • ‘I grasped at the ground to find leverage so I could stand up.’
      • ‘It's on that edge where we're always grasping at words to explain what's around us, trying to go beyond the limits of our understanding and our language.’
      • ‘She gazes away from the Child into the distance while He playfully grasps at Her veil.’
      • ‘One hand grasps at another, only to slip and grab at a ledge, only to slip again, suspending cinematic apprehension for a maddening 25 minutes.’
      • ‘His most recent endeavour, displayed still wet from his studio at the Tate Britain retrospective last year, disclosed the anxiety of an ageing man grasping at the fading vigour of his youth.’
    2. 1.2 Get mental hold of; comprehend fully.
      ‘the way in which children could grasp complex ideas’
      • ‘However, their profundity is usually very elusive and it may take weeks, months or even years to fully grasp their significance.’
      • ‘Although the basic ideas can be grasped relatively quickly, the full method takes longer to absorb.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Further, what is infinitely great cannot be fully grasped by our finite minds.’
      • ‘Nations without our long history of a free press may not grasp this.’
      • ‘Security is a complex science that most fail to grasp comprehensively.’
      • ‘I know that this state of affairs is not fully grasped by the general public in Europe and North America.’
      • ‘Without this crucial element, we can never expect to grasp fully the workings of large-group psychology.’
      • ‘As with an ancient ritual, the meanings of this game cannot be fully grasped.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I don't think people have fully grasped the significance of what's occurred.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The ultimate power of advances such as cable and satellite could not be fully grasped in the 1960s.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That is something that I think some previous speakers in this debate seem to have not grasped as fully as they might.’
      • ‘Here again, the significance of this development can only be fully grasped on the basis of Marx's analysis of the commodity form.’
      • ‘This seems so obvious that it is a surprise when scientists don't grasp this very simple idea.’
      • ‘The result is spectacular, breathtaking, and needs to be seen to be grasped fully.’
      • ‘At that time, this fact had not been fully grasped by some of the more traditional sporting bodies.’
      understand, comprehend, follow, take in, realize, perceive, see, apprehend, assimilate, absorb, make sense of, master, get to the bottom of, penetrate
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Act decisively to the advantage of (something)
      ‘we must grasp the opportunities offered’

noun

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

    ‘the child slipped from her grasp’
    • ‘His gaze quickly shifted down to the journal in the blond man's grasp.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, Jonathan had a firm grasp on one of Angela's thighs.’
    • ‘Jason put his hands on Jed's shoulder and took a firm grasp.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Putting a firm grasp around his waist, she practically dragged him into the joining room across the splintering and cracked floorboards.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He stepped out of the shadows, but a firm grasp of his arm pulled him backward again.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With that, he moved his fingers to have a firmer grasp on the gun.’
    • ‘Scott stepped forward, and took my hand in a firm grasp, kissing it lightly.’
    • ‘Matching his actions, she took it in a firm grasp and shook it quickly.’
    • ‘After an eternity, I somehow managed to pull my hand from my mother'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.’
    • ‘She tried to rip her wrist out of his grip but his grasp was too firm.’
    • ‘He had a firm grasp on her arm, but when she turned to him, he avoided her gaze.’
    • ‘Each of the sailors had a firm grasp on her elbows and shoulders, and she attempted to kick them away, but missed.’
    • ‘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.’
    grip, hold
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person's power or capacity to attain something.
      ‘he knew success was within his grasp’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then, as now, good writing is within the grasp of those who seek it.’
      • ‘Many are walking around dazed and bewildered at the shape of things and the grasp of power.’
      • ‘That's our court, that's within our jurisdiction, within our grasp.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Tasmania's State Library in Hobart has placed some of the state's most precious musical heritage within the grasp of music lovers everywhere.’
      • ‘I suppose being within the grasp of freedom will do that to you.’
      • ‘For those within the grasp of capital, however, more is necessary than simply to understand the nature of capital and its roots in exploitation.’
      • ‘It's brought being on television within the grasp of the common people, and that's exciting for us.’
      • ‘We are surrounded by saleable items whose availability is within the grasp of our hands.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jargon is used to put up a smokescreen, hiding principles which are well within the grasp of the average citizen.’
      • ‘Classical dance and music are no longer elitist, but within the grasp of middle income Indians.’
      • ‘It is not unattainable, it is within the reach and grasp of all who strive and aspire to have it.’
      • ‘With technology within the grasp of the artist herself, the ramifications are massive.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Many top jobs are within the grasp of historians.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the grasp of politicians on power is not likely to loosen quickly and the alternative democratic leadership is slow to develop.’
      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’
      • ‘The more she recalls - and she seems to have a vivid grasp of details - the more pained she seems by her weakness and denial.’
      • ‘Some of the matters I cover even seem to be beyond the grasp of a lot of my academic colleagues.’
      • ‘You have to understand and have a grasp of what is going to happen.’
      • ‘But most people understood her grasp on the position was tenuous at best.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He delegated to junior ministers, but retained a formidable grasp of the policy details.’
      • ‘Players are intelligent, have vision and an incredible grasp of reality because it's called livelihood.’
      • ‘Consequences are incurred which damage our children and our society far beyond the grasp of most commentators.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His grasp of the details of the project and his excellent writing skills should combine to produce a highly readable book for creationist laymen.’
      • ‘We have also included a graph and table which are not beyond the grasp of even the less than numerate.’
      • ‘They have an excellent sense of expediency and grasp of the details which enables them to make quick, effective decisions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although I can see that there is an image contained upon it, the details remain beyond my grasp.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      understanding, comprehension, perception, apprehension, awareness, grip, conception, realization, knowledge, cognizance, ken
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • grasp at straws (or a straw)

  • grasp the nettle

    • Tackle a difficulty boldly.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I think the Government has really grasped the nettle, because this is a major issue for everybody now.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Still, grasping the nettle like this is probably his only chance, slim though it is.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Tackling mental health, grasping the nettle of introducing rights-based legislation will come at a cost.’
      • ‘The new parish council is grasping the nettle to deal with vandalism.’

Origin

Late Middle English: perhaps related to grope.

Pronunciation:

grasp

/ɡrasp/