verb (used with object), nabbed, nab·bing. Informal.
- to arrest or capture.
- to catch or seize, especially suddenly.
- to snatch or steal.
verb nabs, nabbing or nabbed (tr) informal
- to arrest
- to catch (someone) in wrongdoing
- 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.