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From Middle English begripen, bigripen, from Old English begrīpan (to grip, seize, lay hold of; chide), equivalent to be- (around, about) +‎ gripe. Cognate with Dutch begrijpen (to grasp, comprehend), German begreifen (to grasp, comprehend, realise, understand).


begripe (third-person singular simple present begripes, present participle begriping, simple past and past participle begriped)

  1. (transitive) To lay hold of; apprehend; grip; grasp.
    • 1865, Dante Alighieri, The Comedy of Dante Allighieri. [sic]: Part I--The Hell:
      He, with his middle feet, begriped his paunch, And took the arms with the anterior; And then he bit both one and other cheek.
    • 1899, Sir Thomas Malory, Sir Edward Strachey, William Caxton, Le morte Darthur:
      And as for this sword there shall never man begripe it at the handle but one, but he shall pass all other. In the name of God, said Percivale, I shall essay to handle it. So he set his hand to the sword, but he might not begripe it.

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