verb (used without object), grappled, grappling.
to hold or make fast to something, as with a grapple.
to use a grapple.
to seize another, or each other, in a firm grip, as in wrestling; clinch.
to engage in a struggle or close encounter (usually followed by with ): He was grappling with a boy twice his size.
to try to overcome or deal (usually followed by with ): to grapple with a problem.
verb (used with object), grappled, grappling.
to seize, hold, or fasten with or as with a grapple.
to seize in a grip, take hold of: The thug grappled him around the neck.
a hook or an iron instrument by which one thing, as a ship, fastens onto another; grapnel.
a seizing or gripping.
a grip or close hold in wrestling or hand-to-hand fighting.
a close, hand-to-hand fight.

1520–30; apparently a frequentative of Old English gegrǣppian to seize; associated with grapnel

grappler, noun
intergrapple, verb, intergrappled, intergrappling.
ungrappled, adjective

5. struggle, contend, wrestle, cope, tussle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
grapple (ˈɡræpəl)
vb (foll by with)
1.  to come to grips with (one or more persons), esp to struggle in hand-to-hand combat
2.  to cope or contend: to grapple with a financial problem
3.  (tr) to secure with a grapple
4.  any form of hook or metal instrument by which something is secured, such as a grapnel
5.  a.  the act of gripping or seizing, as in wrestling
 b.  a grip or hold
6.  a contest of grappling, esp a wrestling match
[C16: from Old French grappelle a little hook, from grape hook; see grapnel]

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

1295, from O.Fr. grapil "hook" (see grapnel). The verb is 1530, from the noun.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
In a few instances the ants were unruly before they were grappled and carried
We grappled with philosophical, cultural and gender differences.
Another problem almost every team grappled with was transportation.
The reforms of the past few decades have, in fact, grappled with the rich
  world's farm programmes-but only timidly.
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