Old English gripan "grasp at, lay hold, attack, take, seek to get hold of," from Proto-Germanic *gripanan (cf. Old Saxon gripan, Old Norse gripa, Dutch grijpen, Gothic greipan, Old High German grifan, German greifen "to seize"), from PIE root *ghreib- "to grip" (cf. Lithuanian griebiu "to seize"). Figurative sense of "complain, grouse" is first attested 1932, probably from earlier meaning "gripping pain in the bowels" (c.1600; cf. bellyache). Related: Griped; griping.