Definition of grab in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡrab/

verb (grabs, grabbing, grabbed)

[with object]
1Grasp or seize suddenly and roughly: she grabbed him by the shirt collar she grabbed her keys and rushed out
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Suddenly, he grabs her savagely by the arm and throws her at the nearest wall.
  • Two pairs of hands grabbed me roughly by the arms and started dragging me up the steps.
seize, grasp, snatch, take hold of, grip, clasp, clutch;
informal glom on to
1.1 [no object] (grab at/for) Make a sudden snatch at: he grabbed at the handle, missed, and nearly fell
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The sudden jerking of the truck caused Blair to grab at his injured side.
  • Meg grabs at his hand as he tries to tuck it under his armpit.
1.2 informal Obtain or get (something) quickly or opportunistically, sometimes unscrupulously: I’ll grab another drink while there’s still time someone’s grabbed my seat
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • I quickly grab a seat with Jake and Emily at the rear of the room.
  • We first stopped off at my house so i could quickly get changed and grab some money.
get, acquire, obtain;
buy, purchase, procure;
secure, snap up;
gather, collect, garner;
achieve, attain
informal get one's hands on, get one's mitts on, get hold of, bag, score, nab
1.3 [no object] (Of a brake on a vehicle) grip the wheel harshly or jerkily: the brakes grabbed very badly
More example sentences
  • Studies have shown that disc brakes grab faster and hold longer than drum brakes.
2 [usually with negative or in questions] informal Attract the attention of; make an impression on: how does that grab you?
More example sentences
  • Yep, I'm using an attention grabbing headline again to get you to read the article.
  • The voice is so attention grabbing, right from the first paragraph.
  • I try to strike a balance between attention grabbing and classical designs.


1 [in singular] A quick, sudden clutch or attempt to seize: he made a grab at the pistol
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I made a quick grab for her and pulled her down to the bed with me.
lunge, snatch
1.1An act of obtaining something opportunistically or unscrupulously: they used the law to effect a land grab
More example sentences
  • The movie Chinatown is a fictionalized account of that land and water grab.
  • Palestinians call it a grab for land they want for an independent state.
  • Vermonter Howard Dean's grab for the redneck vote has won him just the kind of support he doesn't want: white supremacists.
2A mechanical device for clutching, lifting, and moving things, especially materials in bulk.
Example sentences
  • 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.
2.1 [as 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
More example sentences
  • A fall in a shower or bath without a suction fixed rubber mat or grab bars is dangerous.
  • Wall-mounted units can break away when subjected to the patient's weight unless they are reinforced with grab bars.
  • Elsewhere removal of tripping hazards, installing grab bars and living on a single floor all help.
3 [usually with modifier] Computing 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • They had used video grabs taken 2km into the march every three minutes throughout the five hour event.


up for grabs

informal Available; obtainable: great prizes up for grabs
More example sentences
  • The competition features nine categories and there are plenty of cash prizes up for grabs.
  • There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs so get dressed up and come along.
  • A winner will be drawn at each meeting and there are a variety of attractive prizes up for grabs.
available, obtainable, to be had, for the taking;
for sale, on the market
informal for the asking, on tap, gettable



Pronunciation: /ˈɡrabər/
Example sentences
  • We are here to complain about the land grabbers who took our home away.
  • There was a huge amount of sympathy while others called us liars and money grabbers,’ he said.
  • They are the humble citizens who do their duties without the pomp and ceremony of media grabbers and they refuse to be seduced into a lifestyle that provides the temptation to shred all forms of decency.


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

Words that rhyme with grab

blab, cab, confab, crab, Crabbe, dab, drab, fab, flab, gab, jab, kebab, lab, nab, scab, slab, smash-and-grab, stab, tab

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: grab

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