Noun dated in the 13th Century CE and verb dated in the late 14th Century CE; from claspe, possible modification of clapse, which is from Old English clyppan (“to grasp”). Related to enclasp (“embrace, hold tightly in one's arms”).
Audio (US) (file)
clasp (plural clasps)
- A fastener or holder, particularly one that clasps.
- I always have a hard time working the clasp on this necklace!
- (in the singular) An embrace, a grasp, or handshake.
- He took her hand in a firm clasp.
- (transitive) To take hold of; to grasp; to grab tightly.
- They clasped hands and parted as friends.
- 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit:
- And when the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Rabbit would snuggle down close under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy's hands clasped close round him all night long.
- 1897, Bram Stoker, Dracula Chapter 21:
- The poor dear lady shivered, and I could see the tension of her nerves as she clasped her husband closer to her and bent her head lower and lower still on his breast.
Related terms 
- “clasp” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).