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Related to grasped: ameliorating

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.
See also: dark, grasp

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!
See also: grasp, have, of, on, solid, sound

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!
See also: get, grasp, of, on, solid, sound

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."
See also: grasp, 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.
See also: clutch, straw

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.
See also: grasp

within reach

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.
See also: reach, within

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."
See also: grasp, straw

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.
See also: clutch, straw

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.
See also: grasp

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.
See also: grasp

*(solid) grasp of something

 and *(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.
See also: grasp, of

*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.
See also: grasp, within

within someone's reach

 and 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.
See also: reach, within

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.
See also: fix, get, on

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.
See also: grasp, straw

have a grasp of

see under get a fix on.
See also: grasp, have, of

grasp the nettle

mainly 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.
See also: grasp

clutch at straws

mainly 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.
See also: clutch, straw

get a fix on

1 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.
See also: fix, get, on

grasp the nettle

tackle 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.
See also: grasp

clutch (or grasp or catch) at straws

do, 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.
See also: clutch, straw

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.
See also: grasp

within (easy) ˈreach (of something)

close to something: The house is within easy reach of schools and sports facilities.
See also: reach, within

clutch/grasp at ˈstraws

try 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.
See also: clutch, grasp, straw

grasp at

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.
See also: grasp


at straws
To search in desperation for a solution to a difficulty.

grasp the nettle

To take on a difficult problem directly and energetically.
See also: grasp
References in periodicals archive ?
The head is grasped with forceps, crushed and then removed through the vaginal canal.
The objects in the palmar group are grasped with the forearm in this neutral position.
Or, in Linear Algebra, once the basic concepts are well grasped by the student, computer programs can be used to illustrate the ideas with systems of equations involving large numbers of equations and variables.
As his father attempted to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher, Christopher reached through the open driver's side door and grasped Romney, whose clothing was partially on fire.
Even if a foreign body were to be safely grasped and removed from the esophagus via TNE, it would still have to be withdrawn through the tight nasal vault.
He grasped her hand, but it was damp and she fell from his grasp in last October's tragedy.
Sometimes we think we have firmly grasped the truth and the whole meaning of life and then, like a slippery fish, it swims off into the vast sea only to leave us confounded.
Power grip is thought to have developed early in humans and consists of a prehensile movement in which the object is grasped by the fingers and pressed against the buttress of the thumb and its intrinsic muscles.
And it took three months, but they finally grasped the offense.
It was the surgeon who reached out to the fetus and grasped his hand rather than the reverse.
The origin of the word displays a hope that this position is "manifest"--literally, to be grasped in the hand.
Image-conscious in the extreme because he grasped his city's diplomatic and military vulnerability in the Neapolitan and Milanese-dominated power politics of fifteenth-century Italy, Lorenzo's construction and encouragement of his myth may be understood as "shrewd compensation for weakness" (x), a response to the "heightened anxiety" (106) which, in the writer's view, possessed contemporary Italian statesmen.
And 1, who sought, found and grasped the height On which no shadows ever fall, now pray With rising expectations of the Light Praise, praise the dying of the night.
The spool must be grasped in such a manner that the steel cord is not damaged, and such that either end of the spool may be selectively loaded onto the spindle.
Financial information is grasped more easily in a graphic format.