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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
catch /kætʃ/USA pronunciation
v., caught/kɔt/USA pronunciationcatch•ing,n.
[~ + 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.
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