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Related to grasp: grasp reflex
grasp in the dark
To seek out a solution, meaning, or sense of purpose in a blind, aimless, or uncertain manner. Often used in the progressive tense. We've been grasping in the dark for a way to pay our mortgage, but I just don't see how we'll be able to afford it anymore. My recent breakup with Janice has left me grasping in the dark.
have a (good/solid/sound/etc.) grasp of/on (something)
To have a firm, clear understanding or determination of something. I hope everyone has a solid grasp of the material, as you'll be tested on it next week. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on English idioms, but I don't understand this one at all!
get a (good/solid/sound/etc.) grasp of/on (something)
To attain a firm, clear understanding or determination of something. You will need to get a solid grasp of the material, as you'll all be tested on it next week. I'm trying to get a grasp on English, but I don't understand some of these idioms at all!
grasp at a straw
To make a desperate attempt to salvage a bad situation. A: "But what about all those times I took the trash out when you hadn't even asked me to?" B: "That has nothing to do with why you're in trouble now, so stop grasping at a straw."
clutch at straws
1. To make a desperate attempt to salvage a bad situation. A: "But what about all those times I took the trash out when you hadn't even asked me to?" B: "That has nothing to do with why you're in trouble now, so stop clutching at straws."
2. To consider positive suggestions or thoughts in a bad situation. OK, you're just clutching at straws now, fantasizing about a potential buyer when your house has been on the market for months.
grasp the nettle
To approach or begin a difficult or unpleasant task directly and with the appropriate amount of energy. I know you don't like disciplining employees, but you've just got to grasp the nettle.
Almost attainable. This phrase can be used both literally and figuratively. A noun or pronoun can be used between "within" and "reach." Molly is on bed rest, so be sure to leave anything she’ll need within her reach. Studying will put your goal of getting an A in this class within reach.
grasp at straws
To make a desperate attempt to salvage a bad situation. A: "But what about all those times I took the trash out when you hadn't even asked me to?" B: "That has nothing to do with why you're in trouble now, so stop grasping at straws."
grasp at (someone or something)
To attempt to hold onto or grip someone or something. I grasped at the dog, but she ran away from me. Liz and I grasped at the sides of the raft as we hit rough waters.
relinquish (one's) grasp on (something) (to someone or something)
To forfeit, turn over, or yield control of something (to another person, group, organization, etc.). She refused to relinquish her grasp on the company to someone who wasn't in the family. They were forced to relinquish their grasp on the land to the government. They will now relinquish their grasp on the senate following the results of the election.
relinquish (one's) grasp over (something) (to someone or something)
To forfeit, turn over, or yield control of something (to another person, group, organization, etc.). She refused to relinquish her grasp over the company to someone who wasn't in the family. They were forced to relinquish their grasp over the land to the government. They will now relinquish their grasp over the senate following the results of the election.
grasp (someone or something) by (something)
To take hold of someone or something by gripping something in particular. The mama cat grasped her kitten by the scruff of its neck and carried it off. I grasped Peggy by the shoulders and guided her down the hallway.
a (good/solid/sound/etc.) grasp of/on (something)
A firm, clear understanding or determination of something. I hope everyone has a solid grasp of the material, as you'll be tested on it next week. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on English idioms, but I don't understand this one at all!
clutch at straws
Fig. to continue to seek solutions, ideas, or hopes that are insubstantial. When you talk of cashing in quick on your inventions, you are just clutching at straws. That is not a real solution to the problem. You are just clutching at straws.
grasp at someone or something
to try to seize someone or something. He grasped at the bar and held on tight. The beggar grasped at the pedestrian and lost his grip.
grasp someone or something by something
to hold onto someone or something by something. He grasped his friend by the hand and pulled him to safety. Sharon grasped the dog by its collar and held on tight.
*(solid) grasp of somethingand *(sound) grasp of something; *(good) grasp of something
Fig. a firm understanding of something. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) Try to get a grasp of the basic rules. You don't have a good grasp of the principles yet. John was unable to get a solid grasp of the methods used in his work, and we had to let him go.
*within one's grasp
1. Lit. where one can grasp something with one's hand. (*Typically: be ~;, get ~; get something ~.) The rope was within his grasp, but he was too weak to reach for it.
2. . Fig. [for something] to be obtainable; [for a goal] to be almost won. (Does not involve grabbing or grasping. *Typically: be ~; get ~; get something ~.) Victory is within our grasp, so we must keep playing the game to win. Her goal is within her grasp at last.
within someone's reachand within someone's grasp
1. Lit. close enough to be grasped. The ball was almost within his reach!
2. Fig. almost in the possession of someone. My goals are almost within my reach, so I know I'll succeed. We almost had the contract within our grasp, but the deal fell through at the last minute.
get a fix on
Also, have a fix on; get or have a handle on ; get or have a grasp of . Obtain (or have) a clear determination or understanding of something. For example, I was finally able to get a fix on the specifics of this problem, or No one in the press room had a handle on Balkan history, or Do you have a grasp of the situation? Similarly, give a fix means "provide a clear understanding," as in This briefing will give us a fix on the current situation. The usages with fix and handle are colloquialisms dating from the 1920s; those with grasp are more formal and date from the late 1600s.
grasp at straws
Also, clutch at straws. Make a desperate attempt at saving oneself. For example, He had lost the argument, but he kept grasping at straws, naming numerous previous cases that had little to do with this one . This metaphoric expression alludes to a drowning person trying to save himself by grabbing at flimsy reeds. First recorded in 1534, the term was used figuratively by the late 1600s.
have a grasp of
see under get a fix on.
grasp the nettlemainly BRITISH
COMMON If you grasp the nettle, you deal with a problem or unpleasant task quickly and in a determined way. I think you should grasp the nettle. Speak to your manager and make it clear you regret your mistake and are determined it will never happen again. European leaders have yet to grasp the nettle of labour-market reform. Note: If you grasp a nettle firmly, it is less likely to sting you than if you just touch it lightly.
clutch at strawsmainly BRITISH or
grasp at straws
1. If you clutch at straws or grasp at straws, you try to do something that is very unlikely to succeed because you are desperate or have tried everything else. This was a desperate speech, made by a man clutching at straws to retain his career. I was probably grasping at straws in a search for a cure, but I thought I would give the therapy a go.
2. If you clutch at straws or grasp at straws, you try to find hope in a situation where there is no reason to feel hope. By this time, Rosa's behaviour was extremely strange and we were all very concerned. I told myself that at least she still had a job, but I was clutching at straws. Note: This expression comes from the proverb a drowning man will clutch at a straw. People are still clinging to the hope that something will happen — but I think it's like a drowning man trying to clutch at a straw. Note: The image here is of a drowning person who is desperately trying to take hold of anything to save himself or herself, even a straw.
get a fix on1 determine the position of an aircraft, ship, etc., by visual or radio bearings or astronomical observation. 2 assess or determine the nature or facts of; obtain a clear understanding of. informal
2 1993 Independent on Sunday You do not necessarily get a fix on life by fooling around with the fictive process.
grasp the nettletackle a difficulty boldly. British
This expression refers to a belief (recorded from the late 16th century onwards) enshrined in a rhyme quoted in Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock ( 1925 ): ‘If you gently touch a nettle it'll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains'.
1998 New Scientist The problem was that governments failed to grasp the nettle and scrap the system.
clutch (or grasp or catch) at strawsdo, say, or believe anything, however unlikely or inadequate, which seems to offer hope in a desperate situation.
This expression comes from the proverb a drowning man will clutch at a straw , which is recorded in various forms since the mid 16th century.
grasp the ˈnettle(British English) deal with a difficult matter, firmly and with courage: The government will have to grasp the nettle. If they don’t, the traffic congestion is going to get out of control.This expression refers to the belief that if you touch a nettle (= a plant with leaves that sting) lightly, you will be hurt, but not if you take a firm hold if it.
within (easy) ˈreach (of something)close to something: The house is within easy reach of schools and sports facilities.
clutch/grasp at ˈstrawstry all possible means to find a solution or some hope in a difficult or unpleasant situation, even though this seems very unlikely: The doctors have told him that he has only 6 months to live, but he won’t accept it. He’s going to a new clinic in Switzerland next week, but he’s just clutching at straws.
To have a hold on something or take hold of something with the hands: Afraid of the steep drop-off, I grasped at the railing.
To search in desperation for a solution to a difficulty.
grasp the nettle
To take on a difficult problem directly and energetically.
grasp at straws, to
To make a hopeless effort to save oneself. The term comes from the ancient image of a drowning man clutching at insubstantial reeds in an attempt to save himself, and it often was put as to catch or clutch at straws. It appeared in print as early as the sixteenth century and soon was regarded as a proverb. Indeed, Samuel Richardson so identifies it in Clarissa (1748): “A drowning man will catch at a straw, the proverb well says.” An earlier usage is “We do not as men redie to be drowned, catch at euery straw” (John Prime, Fruitful and Brief Discourse, 1583).