1. A fastening, such as a hook or buckle, used to hold two or more objects or parts together.
a. An embrace or hug.
b. A grip or grasp of the hand.
3. A small metal bar or other device attached to the ribbon of a military decoration to indicate the action or service for which it was awarded or an additional award of the same medal.
tr.v. clasped, clasp·ing, clasps
1. To fasten with or as if with a clasp.
2. To hold in a tight embrace.
3. To grip firmly in or with the hand; grasp.
[Middle English claspe, probably ultimately from Old English clyppan, to grasp, hold.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.