grap·ple / ˈgrapəl/ • v. 1. [intr.] engage in a close fight or struggle without weapons; wrestle: passersbygrappled with the man after the knife attack. ∎ [tr.] seize hold of (someone). ∎ (grapple with) struggle with or work hard to deal with or overcome (a difficulty or challenge): other towns are still grappling with the problem. 2. [tr.] archaic seize or hold with a grapnel. • n. an act of grappling. ∎ inf. a wrestling match. ∎ an instrument for catching hold of or seizing something; a grappling hook. DERIVATIVES: grap·pler / ˈgraplər/ n.