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Webster 1913 Edition


Apprehend

Apˊpre-hend′

(ăpˊprē̍-hĕnd′)
,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Apprehended
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Apprehending
.]
[L.
apprehendere
;
ad
+
prehendere
to lay hold of, seize;
prae
before +
-hendere
(used only in comp.); akin to Gr.
χανδάνειν
to hold, contain, and E.
get
: cf. F.
appréhender
. See
Prehensile
,
Get
.]
1.
To take or seize; to take hold of.
[Archaic]
We have two hands to
apprehend
it.
Jer. Taylor.
2.
Hence: To take or seize (a person) by legal process; to arrest;
as, to
apprehend
a criminal
.
3.
To take hold of with the understanding, that is, to conceive in the mind; to become cognizant of; to understand; to recognize; to consider.
This suspicion of Earl Reimund, though at first but a buzz, soon got a sting in the king’s head, and he violently
apprehended
it.
Fuller.
The eternal laws, such as the heroic age
apprehended
them.
Gladstone.
4.
To know or learn with certainty.
[Obs.]
G.
You are too much distrustful of my truth.
E.
Then you must give me leave to
apprehend

The means and manner how.
Beau. & Fl.
5.
To anticipate; esp., to anticipate with anxiety, dread, or fear; to fear.
The opposition had more reason than the king to
apprehend
violence.
Macaulay.
Syn. – To catch; seize; arrest; detain; capture; conceive; understand; imagine; believe; fear; dread.
– To
Apprehend
,
Comprehend
. These words come into comparison as describing acts of the mind. Apprehend denotes the laying hold of a thing mentally, so as to understand it clearly, at least in part. Comprehend denotes the embracing or understanding it in all its compass and extent. We may apprehended many truths which we do not comprehend. The very idea of God supposes that he may be apprehended, though not comprehended, by rational beings. “We may apprehended much of Shakespeare's aim and intention in the character of Hamlet or King Lear; but few will claim that they have comprehended all that is embraced in these characters.”
Trench.

Apˊpre-hend′

,
Verb.
I.
1.
To think, believe, or be of opinion; to understand; to suppose.
2.
To be apprehensive; to fear.
It is worse to
apprehend
than to suffer.
Rowe.

Webster 1828 Edition


Apprehend

APPREHEND'

,
Verb.
T.
[L. apprehendo, of ad and prehendo, to take or seize.]
1.
To take or seize; to take hold of. In this literal sense, it is applied chiefly to taking or arresting persons by legal process, or with a view to trial; as to apprehend a thief.
2.
To take with the understanding, that is, to conceive in the mine; to understand, without passing a judgment, or making an inference.
I apprehend not why so many and various laws are given.
3.
To think; to believe or be of opinion, but without positive certainty; as, all this is true, but we apprehend it is not to the purpose.
Notwithstanding this declaration, we do not apprehend that we are guilty of presumption.
4.
To fear; to entertain suspicion or fear of future evil; as, we apprehend calamities from a feeble or wicked administration.

Definition 2021


apprehend

apprehend

English

Verb

apprehend (third-person singular simple present apprehends, present participle apprehending, simple past and past participle apprehended)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To take or seize; to take hold of.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Jeremy Taylor.
      We have two hands to apprehend it.
  2. (transitive) To take or seize (a person) by legal process; to arrest.
    to apprehend a criminal.
  3. (transitive) To take hold of with the understanding, that is, to conceive in the mind; to become cognizant of; to understand; to recognize; to consider.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Thomas Fuller.
      This suspicion of Earl Reimund, though at first but a buzz, soon got a sting in the king's head, and he violently apprehended it.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Gladstone
      The eternal laws, such as the heroic age apprehended them.
    • 1922, Carl Becker, The Declaration of Independence, page 221:
      Jefferson apprehended the injustice of slavery; but one is inclined to ask how deeply he felt it.
  4. (transitive) To anticipate; especially, to anticipate with anxiety, dread, or fear; to fear.
    • (Can we date this quote?) -- Thomas Babington Macaulay.
      The opposition had more reason than the king to apprehend violence.
  5. (intransitive) To think, believe, or be of opinion; to understand; to suppose.
  6. (intransitive) To be apprehensive; to fear.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Rowe.
      It is worse to apprehend than to suffer.

Usage notes

To apprehend, comprehend. These words come into comparison as describing acts of the mind. Apprehend denotes the laying hold of a thing mentally, so as to understand it clearly, at least in part. Comprehend denotes the embracing or understanding it in all its compass and extent. We may apprehend many truths which we do not comprehend. The very idea of God supposes that He may be apprehended, though not comprehended, by rational beings. We may apprehend much of Shakespeare's aim and intention in the character of Hamlet or King Lear; but few will claim that they have comprehended all that is embraced in these characters. --Trench.
(material dates from 1913)

Derived terms

Synonyms

Translations