verb (used with object), nabbed, nab·bing. Informal.

  1. to arrest or capture.
  2. to catch or seize, especially suddenly.
  3. to snatch or steal.

verb nabs, nabbing or nabbed (tr) informal

  1. to arrest
  2. to catch (someone) in wrongdoing
  3. to seize suddenly; snatch

v.“to catch (someone),” 1680s, probably a variant of dialectal nap “to seize, catch, lay hold of” (1670s, now surviving only in kidnap), which possibly is from Scandinavian (cf. Norwegian nappe, Swedish nappa “to catch, snatch;” Danish nappe “to pinch, pull”); reinforced by Middle English napand “grasping, greedy.” Related: Nabbed; nabbing.

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