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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
catch /kætʃ/USA pronunciation
v., caught/kɔt/USA pronunciation catch•ing, n. WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2015
[~ + object] to seize or capture, esp. after chasing: The police tried for weeks to catch the thief.
[~ + object] to trap or ensnare:I was caught in a dead-end job.
[~ + object] to take and hold (something thrown, etc.): She caught the ball.
[~ + object] to surprise or notice, as in some action: [~ + object + verb-ing]I caught them cheating.[~ + object]She caught me in the act of cheating on my test.
[~ + object] to find (someone) in a particular condition, usually missing something:He was caught with his guard down (= He was not prepared).
[~ + object] to receive, incur, or contract (a disease): He caught a cold at the overnight party.
[~ + object] to be in time to get aboard:We caught the train at Trondheim.
[~ + object] to take hold of; clasp: He caught her in an embrace.
to (cause to or allow to) become gripped, stuck, or entangled: [~ + object]I caught my coat on that nail and it ripped.[no object]My sleeve caught on that nail.
[~ + object] to attract; charm;
attract the attention of:She was caught by his winning smile.
[~ + oneself] to hold (oneself) back or restrain (oneself) suddenly:He had to catch himself so that he wouldn't overreact.
[~ + object] to see or attend (a show, etc.): Did you catch that new musical?
[~ + object] to strike; hit: The blow caught him on the head.
to fasten with or as if with a catch;
to (cause to) take hold: [no object]The lock won't catch.[~ + object]See if you can catch the lock on the chain.
[~ + object] to grasp with the intellect; comprehend: I caught the meaning of that joke but didn't dare laugh.
[~ + object] to hear clearly:I couldn't catch what you said;
could you repeat that?
[~ + object] to be aware of (a smell, etc.):I caught a whiff of her perfume.
[~ + object] to record or represent successfully: This photo caught her expression perfectly.
[no object] to become lighted; ignite:The green logs just won't catch.
catch at, [~ + at + object] to grasp at eagerly:The children caught at the teacher's skirt.
catch on, [no object]
- to become popular:For a long while her songs just didn't catch on.
catch out, [ ~ + obj + out] to catch or discover in lies or an error:They caught him out in a lie.
- to grasp the meaning; understand:I'm a little slow but eventually I catch on.[~ + on + to + object]She didn't catch on to my explanation.
- [~ + up + with/to + object] to overtake someone or something moving:I caught up with her and pulled her arm.
- [~ + up + with + object] to overwhelm suddenly:The truth caught up with him and he realized what he had done.
- [~ + up + on + object] to do enough so that one is no longer behind:He was catching up on his work on weekends.
[countable] the act of catching.
[countable] anything that catches, esp. a device for slowing motion, as a handle on a window.
[countable] any tricky or concealed problem or drawback: There must be a catch somewhere.
[countable; usually singular] a slight, momentary break or crack in the voice:She answered with a catch in her voice and started to cry.
[countable] something caught, as a quantity of fish:We brought home quite a catch.
[countable] a person or thing worth getting, esp. as a desirable partner in marriage:What a catch she would be.
Games[uncountable] a game in which a ball is thrown from one person to another:We went out in the yard to play catch.
- [usually: be + caught + up] to be involved or interested in very strongly:He was caught up in his work and neglected his family.
- Idioms, Informal Termscatch it, Informal. to receive a reprimand or punishment:You'll really catch it if you don't finish your homework.
(kach), v., caught, catch•ing, n., adj.
to seize or capture, esp. after pursuit:to catch a criminal; to catch a runaway horse.
to trap or ensnare:to catch a fish.
to intercept and seize; take and hold (something thrown, falling, etc.):to catch a ball;
a barrel to catch rain.
to come upon suddenly;
surprise or detect, as in some action:I caught him stealing the pumpkin.
to receive, incur, or contract:to catch a cold.
to be in time to get aboard (a train, boat, etc.).
to lay hold of; grasp;
clasp:He caught her arm.
to grip, hook, or entangle:The closing door caught his arm.
to allow (something) to become gripped, hooked, snagged, or entangled:He caught his coat on a nail.
to attract or arrest:The painting caught his fancy. His speech caught our attention.
to check or restrain suddenly (often used reflexively):She caught her breath in surprise. He caught himself before he said the wrong thing.
to see or attend:to catch a show.
to strike; hit:The blow caught him on the head.
to become inspired by or aware of:I caught the spirit of the occasion.
to fasten with or as if with a catch:to catch the clasp on a necklace.
to deceive:No one was caught by his sugary words.
to attract the attention of; captivate;
charm:She was caught by his smile and good nature.
to grasp with the intellect;
comprehend:She failed to catch his meaning.
to hear clearly:We caught snatches of their conversation.
to apprehend and record; capture:The painting caught her expression perfectly.
Dialect Terms[South Midland and Southern U.S.]to assist at the birth of:The town doctor caught more than four hundred children before he retired.
to become gripped, hooked, or entangled:Her foot caught in the net.
to overtake someone or something moving (usually fol. by up, up with, or up to).
to take hold:The door lock doesn't catch.
Sport[Baseball.]to play the position of catcher:He catches for the Yankees.
to become lighted; take fire;
ignite:The kindling caught instantly.
Agriculture, Botanyto become established, as a crop or plant, after germination and sprouting.
Idiomscatch a crab, (in rowing) to bungle a stroke by failing to get the oar into the water at the beginning or by failing to withdraw it properly at the end.
catch at, to grasp at eagerly;
accept readily:He caught at the chance to get free tickets.
Nauticalcatch a turn, [Naut.]to wind a rope around a bitt, capstan, etc., for one full turn.
catch it, [Informal.]to receive a reprimand or punishment:He'll catch it from his mother for tearing his good trousers again.
- to become popular:That new song is beginning to catch on.
- to grasp mentally; understand:You'd think he'd catch on that he's boring us.
British Termscatch out, [Chiefly Brit.]to catch or discover (a person) in deceit or an error.
- [New England.](in cooking) to scorch or burn slightly;
sear:A pot roast is better if allowed to catch on.
- to lift or snatch suddenly:Leaves were caught up in the wind.
- to bring or get up to date (often fol. by on or with):to catch up on one's reading.
- to come up to or overtake (something or someone) (usually fol. by with):to catch up with the leader in a race.
- to become involved or entangled with:caught up in the excitement of the crowd.
- to point out to (a person) minor errors, untruths, etc. (usually fol. by on):We caught the teacher up on a number of factual details.
- [Falconry.]to capture for further training (a hawk that has been flown at hack).
the act of catching.
anything that catches, esp. a device for checking motion, as a latch on a door.
any tricky or concealed drawback:It seems so easy that there must be a catch somewhere.
a slight, momentary break or crack in the voice.
that which is caught, as a quantity of fish:The fisherman brought home a large catch.
a person or thing worth getting, esp. a person regarded as a desirable matrimonial prospect:My mother thinks Pat would be quite a catch.
Gamesa game in which a ball is thrown from one person to another:to play catch; to have a catch.
a fragment:catches of a song.
Music and Dance[Music.]a round, esp. one in which the words are so arranged as to produce ludicrous effects.
Sport[Sports.]the catching and holding of a batted or thrown ball before it touches the ground.
Sport[Rowing.]the first part of the stroke, consisting of the placing of the oar into the water.
Agriculture[Agric.]the establishment of a crop from seed:a catch of clover.
catchy (def. 3).
- [South Midland and Southern U.S.]to harness (a horse or mule).
Catch, clutch, grasp, seize imply taking hold suddenly of something. To catch may be to reach after and get:He caught my hand.To clutch is to take firm hold of (often out of fear or nervousness), and retain:The child clutched her mother's hand.To grasp also suggests both getting and keeping hold of, with a connotation of eagerness and alertness, rather than fear (literally or figuratively):to grasp someone's hand in welcome; to grasp an idea.To seize implies the use of force or energy in taking hold of suddenly (literally or figuratively):to seize a criminal; to seize an opportunity.17 . enchant, fascinate, win.35 . capture, apprehension, arrest.36 . ratchet, bolt.
ant'> 1, 7, 35 .
- Vulgar Latin *captiāre, for Latin captāre to grasp at, seek out, try to catch, frequentative of capere to take
- Old North French cachier
- Middle English cacchen to chase, capture 1175–1225
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
catch /kætʃ/ vb (catches, catching, caught)
- (transitive) to take hold of so as to retain or restrain
- (transitive) to take, seize, or capture, esp after pursuit
- (transitive) to ensnare or deceive, as by trickery
- (transitive) to surprise or detect in an act: he caught the dog rifling the larder
- (transitive) to reach with a blow: the stone caught him on the side of the head
- (transitive) to overtake or reach in time to board
- (transitive) to see or hear; attend
- (transitive) to be infected with: to catch a cold
- to hook or entangle or become hooked or entangled
- to fasten or be fastened with or as if with a latch or other device
- (transitive) to attract or arrest: she tried to catch his eye
- (transitive) to comprehend: I didn't catch his meaning
- (transitive) to hear accurately: I didn't catch what you said
- (transitive) to captivate or charm
- (transitive) to perceive and reproduce accurately: the painter managed to catch his model's beauty
- (transitive) to hold back or restrain: he caught his breath in surprise
- (intransitive) to become alight: the fire won't catch
- (transitive) to dismiss (a batsman) by intercepting and holding a ball struck by him before it touches the ground
- (intransitive) often followed by at: to grasp or attempt to grasp
- to take advantage (of), esp eagerly: he caught at the chance
- catch it ⇒ informal to be scolded or reprimanded
See also catch on
- the act of catching or grasping
- a device that catches and fastens, such as a latch
- anything that is caught, esp something worth catching
- the amount or number caught
- informal a person regarded as an eligible matrimonial prospect
- a check or break in the voice
- a break in a mechanism
- informal a concealed, unexpected, or unforeseen drawback or handicap
- (as modifier): a catch question
- the catching of a ball struck by a batsman before it touches the ground, resulting in him being out
- a type of round popular in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, having a humorous text that is often indecent or bawdy and hard to articulate
, catch out
, catch upEtymology: 13th Century cacchen to pursue, from Old Northern French cachier, from Latin captāre to snatch, from capere to seizeˈcatchable adj