Meaning of “grab” in the English Dictionary

"grab" in British English

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uk /ɡræb/ us /ɡræb/ -bb-

grab verb (TAKE WITH HAND)

B1 [ I or T ] to take hold of something or someone suddenly and roughly:

A mugger grabbed her handbag as she was walking across the park.
He grabbed (hold of) his child's arm to stop her from running into the road.

More examples

  • I just managed to grab hold of Lucy before she fell in the pool.
  • I grabbed the dog by the collar and dragged it out of the room.
  • Someone jumped out of the shadows and grabbed my handbag.
  • Grab your coat and follow me.
  • Stop grabbing my arm. You're hurting me.


B2 [ T ] informal to take the opportunity to get, use, or enjoy something quickly:

If you don't grab this opportunity, you might not get another one.
We'd better get there early, or someone else will grab the best seats.
Let's just grab a quick bite.
grab sb's attention

C1 to attract someone's attention:

With your first sentence you must grab the reader's attention.

More examples

  • The visiting team grabbed an equaliser just before half time.
  • One young fan managed to grab an autograph as the player was getting on to the coach.
  • You won't get many opportunities, so you need to grab any chances that you get.
  • We can grab a bite to eat before the film starts.
  • She grabbed the chance to play the title role when the leading actor was taken ill.

Phrasal verb(s)

grabnoun [ C ]

uk /ɡræb/ us /ɡræb/
uk /ˈɡræb.i/ us /ˈɡræb.i/ informal

Don't be so grabby (= trying to take things for yourself), Shirley. Let the others have their share.


(Definition of “grab” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"grab" in American English

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grabverb [ T ]

us /ɡræb/ -bb-

to take or take hold of something or someone suddenly:

I grabbed the rope and pulled myself out of the water.
We’d better get there early, or someone else will grab the best seats (= take them first).
infml Let’s grab a sandwich (= get it and eat it quickly) before we leave.

(Definition of “grab” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)