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Example:

"I'm not in the mood for jokes," she said, [...] her fork and looking at her plate again.

So in the example, the person was already holding the fork.

The two words that come to my mind are grip and clutch. I'm not sure, though, if they imply taking the thing first:

grip
take and keep a firm hold of; grasp tightly.

clutch
grasp (something) tightly.

grasp
seize and hold firmly.

Source: Google.

Is there a better word? Or I can use one of the options above? (Maybe one of the doesn't imply to take or seize so much?)

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5 Answers 5

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If you want to convey the idea that she is in a bad mood and that during the conversation she has become more tensed (and as a result of this she has strengthened her grip on her fork), perhaps you can say:

"I'm not in the mood for jokes," she said, tightening her grip on her fork and looking at her plate again.

5

Not convinced of what you want to convey, I proffer-

tweak:

  1. adjust finely, 2. pull or pull out sharply

twinge:

squeeze tightly between the fingers

I'm not in the mood for jokes," she said, [tweaking] her fork and looking at her plate again.

(vocabulary.com)

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If you want to convey the meaning of a very firm hold on the fork, your first two choices are fine and don't necessarily connote taking into one's hand before holding (as Tim Romano pointed out in his comment). I would say that clutch has a slightly more "not implying taking first" feel than grip:

clutch (LDOCE):

clutch 1 [transitive]

to hold something tightly because you do not want to lose it

MW:

to hold onto (someone or something) tightly with your hand

There are other definitions in these dictionaries, where to clutch also includes taking hold of, but the fact that there is a definition without this meaning says (to me at least) that the word can be used without this "to take first" connotation. Same goes for:

to grip (LDOCE):

[transitive]

to hold something very tightly:

I haven't found evidence that same applies to grasp.


If you don't want to say that the hold was firm, then a present participle form of your very own to hold would work:

"I'm not in the mood for jokes," she said, (still) holding her fork and looking at her plate again.

Or if you would allow slight rephrasing:

  • "I'm not in the mood for jokes," she said, looking at her plate again while holding her fork.

  • "I'm not in the mood for jokes," she said, with a fork in her hand, looking at her plate again.

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I think maybe wield could fit your need

Hold and use (a weapon or tool)

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If you are trying to find the word for continuing to hold something, I believe the word "hold" is already sufficient. From Merriam Webster, the definition of hold:

: to have or keep (something) in your hand, arms, etc.

: to put your arms around (someone) : to embrace or hug (someone)

: to put or keep (something or someone) in a specified place or position

As you can see, part of the definition is to keep it in one's grasp.

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