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From Middle English graspen, grapsen, craspen (to grope; feel around), probably from Old English grǣpsan (to touch, feel), from Proto-Germanic *graipisōną. Cognate with German Low German grapsen (to grab; grasp), Saterland Frisian Grapse (double handful). Compare also Swedish krafsa (to scatch; scabble), Norwegian krafse (to scramble).



grasp (third-person singular simple present grasps, present participle grasping, simple past and past participle grasped)

  1. To grip; to take hold, particularly with the hand.
  2. To understand.
    I have never been able to grasp the concept of infinity.
  3. To take advantage of something, to seize, to jump at a chance.

Derived terms[edit]



grasp (plural grasps)

  1. (sometimes figuratively) Grip.
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, Nobody, chapter III:
      Turning back, then, toward the basement staircase, she began to grope her way through blinding darkness, but had taken only a few uncertain steps when, of a sudden, she stopped short and for a little stood like a stricken thing, quite motionless save that she quaked to her very marrow in the grasp of a great and enervating fear.
  2. Understanding.
  3. That which is accessible; that which is within one's reach or ability.
    The goal is within my grasp.