From Middle English graspen, grapsen, craspen (“to grope; feel around”), from Old English *grǣpsian, from Proto-West Germanic *graipisōn, from Proto-Germanic *graipisōną, from Proto-Indo-European *gʰrebʰ- (“to take, seize, rake”), the same ultimate source as grab.
Cognate with German Low German grapsen (“to grab; grasp”), German grapsen, Saterland Frisian Grapse (“double handful”), Old English grāpian ("to touch, feel, grasp"; > Modern English grope). Compare also Swedish krafsa (“to scatch; scabble”), Norwegian krafse (“to scramble”).
- To grip; to take hold, particularly with the hand.
- To understand.
- I have never been able to grasp the concept of infinity.
- To take advantage of something, to seize, to jump at a chance.
- (grip): clasp, grip, hold tight; See also Thesaurus:grasp
- (understand): comprehend, fathom
- (take advantage): jump at the chance, jump on
grasp (plural grasps)
- (sometimes figuratively) Grip.
- 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter III, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384:
- 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.
- 1980, Robert M. Jones, editor, Walls and Ceilings, Time-Life Books, →ISBN, page 44:
- If a mirror does slip from your grasp, do not attempt to catch it. Just get out of the way.
- 1859, George Meredith, chapter 13, in The Ordeal of Richard Feverel. A History of Father and Son. […], volume (please specify |volume=I to III), London: Chapman and Hall, OCLC 213819910:
- There is for the mind but one grasp of happiness: from that uppermost pinnacle of wisdom, whence we see that this world is well designed.
- That which is accessible; that which is within one's reach or ability.
- The goal is within my grasp.