use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

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:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

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.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

grab 1 (grăb)
Share:
v. grabbed, grab·bing, grabs
v.tr.
1. To take or grasp suddenly: grabbed the letter from me.
2. To capture or restrain; arrest.
3. To obtain or appropriate unscrupulously or forcibly: grab public funds; grab power.
4. To take hurriedly: grabbed my coat and hat and left.
5. Slang To capture the attention of: a plot that grabs the reader.
v.intr.
To make a grasping or snatching motion: We grabbed for the life raft.
n.
1.
a. A sudden attempt to grasp or hold something: made a grab for the railing.
b. A sudden, often unscrupulous taking control or ownership of something: "The imminence of death is reflected in every last power-stroke and grab of the great money bosses" (Dylan Thomas).
2. A mechanical device for gripping an object.
adj.
Relating or being an object or device that is grabbed or gripped for support or balance: installed a grab bar in the shower.
Idiom:
up for grabs Slang
Available for anyone to take or win: "The reputation of the ... king is still up for grabs" (William Zinsser).

[Obsolete Dutch or Low German grabben, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German; see ghrebh-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

grabba·ble adj.
grabber n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
grab 2 (grăb)
Share:
n.
A usually two-masted, sharp-prowed coastal vessel of the Indian Ocean.

[Arabic ġurāb, raven, swift galley; see ġrb in Semitic roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.