grab at (someone or something)

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grab at (someone or something)

1. To attempt to seize or grasp someone or something. The man grabbed at me as I walked by, so I sprayed him in the face with pepper spray. I tried grabbing at the paper in her hand, but she snatched it away from me effortlessly.
2. To attempt to possess, attain, or take control of something, especially by forceful or devious means. With the monarchy collapsing, several political parties in the country have begun grabbing at power. The wealthy foreign company has begun a hostile takeover of the media conglomerate, grabbing at a majority shareholder position in order to take control of the board.
See also: grab
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

grab at someone or something

 and grab for someone or something
to grasp quickly at someone or something; to try to seize someone or something. He grabbed at me, but I got away unscathed. I grabbed at the rope, but missed. The teacher grabbed for the little boy and held him.
See also: grab
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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