When you "grab" something, you take it with your hands and hold on to it.

  • George is 82 years old. He always grabs onto the railing as he walks upstairs or downstairs because he’s afraid of falling.
  • The standing passengers on the train grabbed onto the overhead bar to keep their balance as the train moved forward.
  • Small children often grab the hands of their mother or father when walking across a busy street.
  • The man grabbed the bull by the horns as he tried to bring it to the market.

grabbing bull

Sometimes the verb "grab" is very similar to "get."

  • I’m going to grab something to eat.
  • Renee wants to grab her jacket before she leaves the house.
  • Can you grab that book for me please? Thanks.
  • Before Jim closed the refrigerator door he grabbed some mustard and ketchup.

A popular expression also makes use of the word "grab." When you say that something is "up for grabs," that means that it is available to anyone:

  • This last piece of pizza is up for grabs. Who wants it?
  • Brian’s position at the company is up for grabs now that he has left.
  • There’s a bunch of free furniture that’s up for grabs. Do you want any of it?

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This page was first published on January 17, 2012. It was updated on December 6, 2016.