What's the semantic difference between "to grab" and "to grasp"?

  • 1
    Aren't there differences in their dictionary definitions?
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 12:15
  • 1
    As Kris points out, please tell us what you've got so far. If the dictionary definitions don't help you for some reason, include them in the question and tell us what exactly is causing confusion. Then the question can be reopened, and you'll get much better answers, too. Thanks.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 12:19
  • From Oxford Dictionary of English: grasp: seize and hold firmly. grab: grasp or seize suddenly and roughly. I suspect there are subtle differences but being a non-native speaker I cannot figure out.
    – Hemme
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 12:42
  • I bet that "RTFM" answers could be applied to a large part of the questions posted on this site. Nonetheless, there are kind people who answer anyway :-P
    – Hemme
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


You grab a loaf of bread with stuffing and eat it. You grab a stone and throw it at the glass.

You grasp the ideas of a poem. You grasp the techniques of solving a system of linear equations.

  • 1
    You can also grasp a loaf of bread or a stone.
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 12:24
  • but, we dont grab a theorem, I suppose. :)
    – karthik
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 12:28
  • Gotta check that one.
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 12:32

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