To grab something is to get it or reach for it very quickly. People grab things with their hands:

simplepastpast participle
  • We grabbed some food from McDonald’s before leaving on our trip.
  • Tim grabbed a few apples before walking out the door.
  • If you happen to see Louise, grab her for me because I need to talk to her.
  • During a football game, players try to grab the ball away from their opponents.
  • Don’t forget to grab your coat before we leave.
  • Grab your hat and an umbrella. It’s raining outside.
  • That TV commercial really grabs your attention.

Sometimes we use the word "grab" to describe an assault of some kind:

  • A mugger grabbed Lisa from behind and stole her purse.
  • A mob of screaming girls tried to grab onto the young teen idol as he passed by them.
  • A police officer grabbed the suspect and threw him to the ground.
  • A dog grabbed the leg of a man who was threatening the dog’s owner.

police officer grabbing someone

The police officer grabbed the man by his coat and told him to stop what he was doing.

There’s a common expression that uses the word "grab." To say that something is up for grabs means that it’s available to the first person who claims it or picks it up.

  • The Johnson’s say that in their backyard they have a play set that’s up for grabs to anyone who can take it apart and haul it away.
  • The school has some old desks that are up for grabs, but you’ll have to act quickly because the desks are pretty nice.
  • I’ve got an old phone that’s up for grabs. Who wants it?

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This page was published on July 9, 2017.