1 [grab]
verb (used with object), grabbed, grabbing.
to seize suddenly or quickly; snatch; clutch: He grabbed me by the collar.
to take illegal possession of; seize forcibly or unscrupulously: to grab land.
to obtain and consume quickly: Let's grab a sandwich before going to the movie.
to cause a reaction in; affect: How does my idea grab you?
to arouse the interest or excitement of: The book was O.K., but it just didn't grab me.
verb (used without object), grabbed, grabbing.
to make a grasping or clutching motion (usually followed by at ): He grabbed frantically at the life preserver.
(of brakes, a clutch, etc.) to take hold suddenly or with a jolting motion; bind.
a sudden, quick grasp or snatch: to make a grab at something.
seizure or acquisition by violent or unscrupulous means.
something that is grabbed.
a mechanical device for gripping objects.
the capacity to hold or adhere: The glue was so old it had lost its grab.
up for grabs, Informal. available to anyone willing to expend the energy to get it: The Republican nomination for mayor was up for grabs.

1580–90; cognate with Middle Dutch, Middle Low German grabben, Swedish grabba

grabbable, adjective
ungrabbing, adjective

1. grasp, grip, catch. Unabridged


2 [grab]
an Oriental ship having two or three masts with a square rig.

1670–80; < Arabic ghurāb literally, raven Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
grab (ɡræb)
vb , grabs, grabbing, grabbed
1.  to seize hold of (something)
2.  (tr) to seize illegally or unscrupulously
3.  (tr) to arrest; catch
4.  (intr) (of a brake or clutch in a vehicle) to grip and release intermittently causing juddering
5.  informal (tr) to catch the attention or interest of; impress
6.  the act or an instance of grabbing
7.  a mechanical device for gripping objects, esp the hinged jaws of a mechanical excavator
8.  something that is grabbed
9.  informal up for grabs available to be bought, claimed, or won
[C16: probably from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch grabben; related to Swedish grabba, Sanskrit grbhnāti he seizes]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1589, from M.Du. or M.L.G. grabben "to grab," from P.Gmc. *grab (cf. O.H.G. garba "sheaf," lit. "that which is gathered up together"), from PIE *gherebh- "to seize" (cf. Skt. grbhnati "seizes," O.Pers. grab- "seize" as possession or prisoner, O.C.S. grabiti "to seize, rob," Lith. grebiu "to rake"). First
record of grab-bag "miscellaneous mixture" is 1855, originally a carnival game.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with grab, also see how does that grab you; up for grabs.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
For years, high-school students who wanted information on a college could
  always grab a brochure from the counselor's office.
Point out how newscasters may play on a sense of fear for personal safety,
  ambiguity, or money issues to grab people's attention.
Crucial advice for future banding participants: before you grab the bird's
  body, be sure your partner has grabbed the head.
If it should rain, slip into a stone-and-log shelter, or grab a fireside seat
  in the estate house and have tea.
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