To grasp is to get a hold of something, literally or figuratively. Grasp the grammar textbook with both hands and then read it to grasp the rules of the English language.

It makes sense that the word grasp means understanding a concept since you are "getting a hold of an idea" just as you would grasp something tangible to hold. Grasp is good for when you're talking about comprehending the scale of something, or the full picture of a multi-faceted problem or idea. You might know that there is going to be a heat wave, but you may not grasp the idea of its relationship to global warming.

Definitions of grasp

v hold firmly

hold on
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latch on
take hold of or attach to
cling, hang
hold on tightly or tenaciously
hold firmly and tightly
bosom, embrace, hug, squeeze
squeeze (someone) tightly in your arms, usually with fondness
Type of:
hold, take hold
have or hold in one's hands or grip

v get the meaning of something

apprehend, compass, comprehend, dig, get the picture, grok, savvy
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catch on, cotton on, get it, get onto, get wise, latch on, tumble, twig
understand, usually after some initial difficulty
know or grasp by intuition or feeling
arrange and integrate in the mind
Type of:
know and comprehend the nature or meaning of

n understanding of the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something

“he has a good grasp of accounting practices”
appreciation, hold
a natural appreciation or ability
Type of:
apprehension, discernment, savvy, understanding
the cognitive condition of someone who understands

n an intellectual hold or understanding

“a terrible power had her in its grasp
something that acts like a tentacle in its ability to grasp and hold
Type of:
a power to affect persons or events especially power based on prestige etc

n the limit of capability

compass, range, reach
ken, sight
the range of vision
Type of:
capability, capableness, potentiality
an aptitude that may be developed

n the act of grasping

clasp, clench, clutch, clutches, grip, hold
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choke hold, chokehold
a restraining hold; someone loops the arm around the neck of another person in a tight grip, usually from behind
embrace, embracement, embracing
the act of clasping another person in the arms (as in greeting or affection)
wrestling hold
a hold used in the sport of wrestling
cuddle, nestle, snuggle
a close and affectionate (and often prolonged) embrace
clinch, hug, squeeze
a tight or amorous embrace
bear hug
a wrestling hold with arms locked tightly around the opponent
any of several wrestling holds in which an arm is passed under the opponent's arm from behind and the hand exerts pressure on the back of the neck
Japanese stranglehold
a wrestling hold in which the opponent's arms are crossed in front of his own neck to exert pressure on his windpipe
any wrestling hold in which some part of the opponent's body is twisted or pressured
scissor grip, scissor hold, scissors, scissors grip, scissors hold
a wrestling hold in which you wrap your legs around the opponents body or head and put your feet together and squeeze
a wrestling hold in which the arms are pressed against the opponent's windpipe
a wrestling hold in which the toe is held and the leg is twisted against the joints
Type of:
grasping, prehension, seizing, taking hold
the act of gripping something firmly with the hands (or the tentacles)

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