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grasp

[grasp, grahsp] /græsp, grɑsp/
verb (used with object)
1.
to seize and hold by or as if by clasping with the fingers or arms.
2.
to seize upon; hold firmly.
3.
to get hold of mentally; comprehend; understand:
I don't grasp your meaning.
verb (used without object)
4.
to make an attempt to seize, or a motion of seizing, something (usually followed by at or for):
a drowning man grasping at straws; to grasp for an enemy's rifle.
noun
5.
the act of grasping or gripping, as with the hands or arms:
to make a grasp at something.
6.
a hold or grip:
to have a firm grasp of a rope.
7.
one's arms or hands, in embracing or gripping:
He took her in his grasp.
8.
one's power of seizing and holding; reach:
to have a thing within one's grasp.
9.
hold, possession, or mastery:
to wrest power from the grasp of a usurper.
10.
mental hold or capacity; power to understand.
11.
broad or thorough comprehension:
a good grasp of computer programming.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English graspen, grapsen; cognate with Low German grapsen; akin to Old English gegræppian to seize (see grapple)
Related forms
graspable, adjective
grasper, noun
graspless, adjective
regrasp, verb (used with object)
ungraspable, adjective
ungrasped, adjective
Synonyms
1. grip, clutch; grab. See catch. 9. clutches. 10. scope, comprehension. Grasp, reach refer to the power of seizing, either concretely or figuratively. Grasp suggests actually seizing and closing the hand upon something (or, figuratively, thoroughly comprehending something) and therefore refers to what is within one's possession or immediate possibility of possession: a good grasp of a problem; immense mental grasp. Reach suggests a stretching out of (usually) the hand to touch, strike, or, if possible, seize something; it therefore refers to a potentiality of possession that requires an effort. Figuratively, it implies perhaps a faint conception of something still too far beyond one to be definitely and clearly understood.
Antonyms
1. release.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for grasp
  • grasp the similarities, and you can start to understand the differences.
  • In order to understand how this new technique works, it is important to grasp the basics of the human knee.
  • Understanding, in stark contrast, simplifies things so that everyone can grasp the issues.
  • But to grasp how they work, there are a few things to understand, first and foremost that they act as a single unit.
  • Our grasp on what is possible and impossible is purely based upon our understanding.
  • These have to be taught, but you don't say to students that they have to understand the elements before they can grasp science.
  • What you are looking for is a unique selling proposition that a customer can immediately grasp, understand, and appreciate.
  • But we're looking for clues that will help us understand bits of physics and cosmology that are currently beyond our grasp.
  • Plenty of them are leaving town, wanting as much space as possible from the ghosts and the day's enduring grasp.
  • The best way to help political evil's victims is to grasp why they are being victimized.
British Dictionary definitions for grasp

grasp

/ɡrɑːsp/
verb
1.
to grip (something) firmly with or as if with the hands
2.
when intr, often foll by at. to struggle, snatch, or grope (for)
3.
(transitive) to understand, esp with effort
noun
4.
the act of grasping
5.
a grip or clasp, as of a hand
6.
the capacity to accomplish (esp in the phrase within one's grasp)
7.
total rule or possession
8.
understanding; comprehension
Derived Forms
graspable, adjective
grasper, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Low German grapsen; related to Old English græppian to seize, Old Norse grāpa to steal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for grasp
v.

mid-14c., "to reach for, feel around," possibly a metathesis of grapsen, from Old English *græpsan "to touch, feel," from Proto-Germanic *grap-, *grab- (cf. East Frisian grapsen "to grasp," Middle Dutch grapen "to seize, grasp," Old English grapian "to touch, feel, grope"), from PIE root *ghrebh- (see grab). Sense of "seize" first recorded mid-16c. Figurative use from c.1600; of intellectual matters from 1680s. Related: Grasped; grasping. The noun is from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with grasp
In addition to the idiom beginning with grasp also see: get a fix on (grasp of)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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