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Old English grapian "to feel about (as one blind or in darkness)," originally "lay hold of, seize, touch, attain," related to gripan "grasp at" (see gripe). Figurative sense is from early 14c. Indecent sense (marked as "obsolete" in OED) is from c.1200. Related: Groped; groping. The noun is Old English grap.
To touch, feel, caress, fondle, etc, with seeming or actual sexual intent (1250+)Related Terms