Main definitions of case in English

: case1case2



  • 1An instance of a particular situation; an example of something occurring.

    ‘a case of mistaken identity’
    ‘in many cases farmers do have a deep feeling for their land’
    • ‘Dr David Keane, of St James's Hospital in Dublin has said an ECG can pick up heart diseases in some cases.’
    • ‘In these cases, preventive medication may be necessary to keep the traveler healthy.’
    • ‘While they may not have been perfect before the work, in many cases, they are far worse afterwards.’
    • ‘In some cases, a professional can train the staff, who then can write and manage the plan.’
    • ‘He said that in many cases, workers had been mistreated or had been denied their rights because of language barriers.’
    • ‘Laser treatment can help but is not suitable in many cases.’
    • ‘Increasing cases of extra-marital relations are resulting in desertions and divorces.’
    • ‘Police suspect both incidents were cases of group suicide as they found charcoal stoves inside the vehicles.’
    • ‘In such cases, the normal pattern of word stress is overridden.’
    • ‘In such cases, the disease can be very dangerous for machine operators and drivers.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, in many cases, the first real symptom is a broken bone.’
    • ‘In the majority of cases, injury was a consequence of intense sports activity.’
    • ‘Chest pain is usually mild and transient, but further management is required in some cases.’
    • ‘Whether this was a case of poor finishing or inspired goal keeping is open to debate.’
    • ‘In some cases, the medical card guidelines are still lower than the equivalent social welfare rate.’
    • ‘He endorsed unionisation and protested several cases of police brutality in Miami.’
    • ‘I think that vivisection can probably be justified in certain medically important cases.’
    • ‘In a number of cases families sought to protect daughters from what they felt was an unduly harsh sentence.’
    • ‘In many cases, volunteers were not consulted and were only made aware of decisions after they had happened.’
    • ‘These are not cases of whether the government cares or doesn't care, or is corrupt or uncorrupt.’
    instance, occurrence, occasion, manifestation, demonstration, exhibition, exposition, expression
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[usually in singular]The situation affecting or relating to a particular person or thing.
      ‘I'll make an exception in your case’
      • ‘In my case, in order to minimise my monthly outlay, I chose to repay the loan amount after 30 years.’
      • ‘In my case, I had a complete nightmare with my bank when I tried to change an insurance policy.’
      • ‘In your case, the personal issues are clear, with your wish to retire and with no family succession.’
      • ‘In her case it has caused involuntary muscle spasms affecting her whole body.’
      • ‘In our case, I can say there were specific benefits, which will not apply to you.’
      • ‘And this was part of my believing that the world was not as it was represented, because it certainly was not in my case.’
      • ‘I grilled him about how this works, and at least in his case, it's not particularly sinister.’
      • ‘In my case though I just stumbled upon themes and then built on them.’
      • ‘In my case, I saw the internet as the perfect opportunity to become whoever I wanted to be.’
      • ‘In the Russian's case, it expresses at least in part regret for a radical youth.’
      • ‘The list is endless when the spinal cord is traumatized and some will make a partial or, in my case, a complete recovery.’
      • ‘Quite often, as in your case, only the eyes cause problems and the usual treatment is to provide artificial tears or a gel.’
      • ‘The result, in his case, is that his nationality plays little or no role in the definition of his music.’
      • ‘In his case, it led him to undertake a change of direction career-wise.’
      • ‘The allure, in my case, was not service to others, but the deliverance of myself.’
      • ‘However, it may not be appropriate in your case as it is expensive.’
      • ‘In our case, it helped to turn an already tense situation into a snake pit.’
      • ‘In her case, it has the opposite effect.’
      • ‘The procedure, as you know, is a good one when it works, and it worked very well in my case.’
      • ‘It was particularly painful in my case because I had my heart set on the very thing he was achieving.’
      the situation, the position, the picture, the state of affairs, the state of play, the lie of the land
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2An incident or set of circumstances under official investigation by the police.
      ‘a murder case’
      • ‘Surrey police, who investigated the cases, concluded late last year that there were no grounds for any prosecutions.’
      • ‘He laid a charge at the local police station but the case was apparently not followed up.’
      • ‘Twenty-five officers are working on the case and an incident room has been set up at York.’
      • ‘To date no one from the community has voluntarily come forward to provide any details to police on the case.’
      • ‘The police investigation has now finished and a file on the case has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.’
      • ‘Police confiscated the bones for examination but haven't commented on the case.’
      • ‘For the detectives on the case though, there will be no celebration at today's conviction.’
      • ‘Greater Manchester Police have put a team of detectives on the case and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.’
      • ‘After the presentation ceremony, Wendy paid tribute to the police officers who had worked on the case.’
      • ‘I, and all the officers who worked on the case, were utterly shocked at the callous level of violence they used.’
      • ‘He says this involves the police certifying private investigators to handle cases, with police support.’
      • ‘This makes it necessary for there to be a big investment of police manpower to crack these cases, the officials said.’
      • ‘There are several other similar cases currently under police investigation.’
      • ‘He suggested that the document had been fabricated by the police officers in the case.’
      • ‘The cause of the accident is unknown and police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.’
      • ‘Yesterday police said all the cases had been fully investigated and no action would be taken.’
      • ‘Police are treating the case as attempted murder and a major incident room and full inquiry team has been set up.’
      • ‘The detective on the case was one of the victims and Carmen felt as if she had done all she could.’
      • ‘She has to approach a civil court and also pursue the criminal case filed in a police station.’
      investigation, enquiry, examination, exploration, probe, search, scrutiny, scrutinization, study, inspection, inquest, reconnoitring, sounding
      View synonyms
  • 2An instance of a disease, injury, or problem.

    ‘200,000 cases of hepatitis B’
    • ‘There are about 200 cases of Legionnaires' Disease in England each year.’
    • ‘He said although new cases of foot-and-mouth disease had dramatically reduced he still had to be extra cautious.’
    • ‘They said she had a case of chicken pox and some sort of allergy.’
    • ‘There had previously been only four cases of the disease diagnosed in Scotland this year.’
    • ‘With current medications most cases of both types of cancer in kids and teens are curable.’
    • ‘There is no sign of a slowdown in new cases of the disease.’
    • ‘She normally only saw one case of the virus a year.’
    • ‘They believe their children are suffering from undiagnosed cases of brittle bone disease.’
    • ‘Recent well-publicised cases of the disease highlight the point that this epidemic will not go away on its own.’
    • ‘Almost 30 new cases of the disease were detected as a result of the screening programme.’
    • ‘In cases of typhoid fever caused by salmonella bacteria, early symptoms are the same.’
    • ‘Although smaller in number, incidences of gonorrhea and genital warts rose, while there was a fall in cases of herpes and syphilis.’
    • ‘But he said a lot of work was being done to raise awareness and combat rising cases of diseases like chlamydia in the town.’
    • ‘He has been suffering from a chronic case of Mud Fever ever since we bought him 6 months ago.’
    • ‘He called on the need for a healthy diet so as to prevent cases of malnutrition and anaemia, especially among women in India.’
    • ‘At least 75 cases of dengue fever have been detected in hospitals in the city in the last week, the sources said.’
    • ‘Only two of the team were not affected by an appalling case of food poisoning on the day of the final.’
    • ‘How many cases of mumps, measles, or rubella would the lack of vaccination of this number of children produce?’
    • ‘Diabetes and hypertension are the underlying causes in most cases of chronic kidney disease.’
    • ‘Two cases of primary malignant melanoma of the common bile duct were reported in 1991.’
    patient, sick person, invalid, sufferer, victim
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1A person or their particular problem requiring or receiving medical or welfare attention.
      ‘most breast cancer cases were older women’
      ‘the local social services discussed Gemma's case’
      ‘urgent cases were turned away from the hospital’
      • ‘Hundreds of contacts of the suspected cases are under medical surveillance, at least five of whom have developed fevers.’
      • ‘The sanctuary takes in cruelty and abuse cases and regularly receives referrals from the police.’
      • ‘Another complicating factor is whether or not psychiatric cases are included in the casualty figures.’
      • ‘Four out of the five Indian cases with septicaemia or meningitis had a fatal outcome.’
      • ‘King Edward Hospital in Perth centred on the treatment of obstetrics and gynaecology cases.’
      • ‘Most of these cases had contracted the disease some time ago and are only now starting treatment.’
      • ‘Most of those patients are run of the mill cases that a medical student could handle.’
      • ‘In addition, it is effective in cases requiring radical surgery of malignant tumors.’
      • ‘It has been estimated that the general practitioner sees about five cancer cases yearly.’
      • ‘We know where the chronic heart disease cases are going to be.’
      • ‘Less than one per cent of the substantiated cases required medical care for broken bones or head trauma.’
      • ‘Hospitals were requested to provide copies of the medical records of potential cases.’
      • ‘Cholesterol clefts were shown on biopsy in all four cases, and eosinophilia was noted in three.’
      • ‘The most severe cases are medical emergencies and require the skilled care of a physician in hospital to avoid death.’
      • ‘More cases than controls saw a gynaecologist or an obstetrician and cases had more prenatal visits.’
      • ‘The nurse would direct the more serious cases to a general practitioner.’
      • ‘We had our fracture ward upstairs full of cases immobilised in full plaster casts.’
      • ‘We recently admitted two cases of tuberculous meningitis to our hospital within a week.’
      • ‘So far, more than two thirds of cases have required advice only.’
      • ‘Severe cases require treatment in hospital with antibiotics.’
    2. 2.2informal [with adjective or noun modifier]A person whose situation is regarded as pitiable or as having no chance of improvement.
      ‘Vicky was a very sad case’
      • ‘He is a devoted doctor who is adamant to make the make the best out of hopeless cases.’
      • ‘Many members of the squad were left looking like hopeless cases, often through no fault of their own.’
      • ‘This guy is a sad case, very very messed up, and probably has done some messed-up stuff.’
      • ‘What is clear is that we now have a leader of the National Party who is a very sad case.’
      • ‘Last year alone, he saw 700 equine clients from all over Britain, some of which were deemed hopeless cases by vets.’
      • ‘He nodded, a great sage, understanding the value of a man such as he to a sad case like me.’
      • ‘Esther hoped she would be assigned to a ward that contained the really desperate cases.’
      • ‘Ok, call me a terminal sad case but this is probably going to end up in my cupboard.’
    3. 2.3informal, dated An amusing or eccentric person.
      • ‘She's a case and a half. You love to hate her don't you?’
      • ‘I checked out the whole joint, mate, and the verdict is in: you're a case.’
      • ‘"He's a case," said Father Jerry.’
  • 3A legal action, especially one to be decided in a court of law.

    ‘a libel case’
    ‘a former employee brought the case against the council’
    • ‘The main problem in bringing these cases to court is to get the women to testify against their partners.’
    • ‘He was to later admit that he had lied in the defeated High Court libel case over the payment of a bill for a weekend stay at the Ritz in Paris.’
    • ‘We can only hope that the one remaining case results in conviction and punishment.’
    • ‘In a similar case in the U.S., an appeal court struck down a massive award against a farmer for saving seed from genetically modified soybeans.’
    • ‘Lawyers for the plaintiffs have written to the judge suggesting that he step down from the case.’
    • ‘In many malpractice cases, the facts lie particularly within the knowledge of the Defendants.’
    • ‘Another problem solicitors face is the hurdles they have to jump to get legal aid for appeal cases.’
    • ‘If the juror had spoken up, as he should have, he would surely have been told he should not sit on the case.’
    • ‘About a quarter of all cases lodged in the Court this year have been asylum support cases.’
    • ‘The cost of bringing the case to court meant the amount he owed had risen to £962.50.’
    • ‘He has been listed as an attorney representing a pharmaceutical company in a similar case, according to lawyers and court documents quoted by the New York Times yesterday.’
    • ‘Normally, the police or local councils bring such cases to court.’
    • ‘The Supreme Court has ruled that prosecutors may bring the case back to court if his health improves.’
    • ‘You thought you had read the last about the libel case involving local council officers?’
    • ‘Their only job is to render objective justice in the specific case before them.’
    • ‘Ten minutes later a power failure in the High Court brought the manslaughter case to a stop.’
    • ‘Emotionally manipulating juries in personal injury cases is what they do best.’
    • ‘They are suing the UK government over its refusal to grant legal aid in libel cases.’
    • ‘Swindon magistrates remanded him in custody and committed the case to crown court.’
    • ‘There are very few important cases decided by this Court that don't offend somebody.’
    lawsuit, action, legal action, suit, suit at law, cause, legal cause, trial, proceedings, judicial proceedings, litigation, legal process, legal dispute, indictment
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1A set of facts or arguments supporting one side in a legal case.
      ‘the case for the defence’
      • ‘None of the accused was even given the opportunity to argue the case against them.’
      • ‘Before me each side conducted their respective cases as a matter of high principle.’
      • ‘Even if admitted, there was still some evidence on which the plaintiff's case could be built.’
      • ‘I was referred to the cases of a carrier and packing agent as supporting the case of the auctioneers.’
      • ‘He builds up a very strong case based on circumstantial evidence.’
      • ‘The film does not take sides; it does not present itself as a case for the defence.’
      • ‘The Applicant did have a fair hearing and the opportunity of presenting his side of the case.’
      • ‘At the end of his summing up he gave the jury a brief reminder of the way both sides put their cases in counsel's final speeches.’
      • ‘She turned up for a hearing but she was not able to present her case to the court.’
      • ‘A solicitor should never advocate his client's case in the media.’
      • ‘Indeed, I consider that, if anything, it supports his case on lack of motive for the loss.’
      • ‘That part of the appellant's case is no longer maintained, and in my judgement rightly so.’
      • ‘Both sides of the argument are busy marshalling facts to support their cases.’
      • ‘There is a short answer to almost the whole of the defendants' case on this application.’
      • ‘No further reports were available on the details of the criminal case against the driver.’
      • ‘The overall standard of some prosecution cases outlined to courts in West Yorkshire was below the national standard.’
      • ‘A party cannot truly know whether a document supports his case until he has seen it.’
      • ‘He says the case against him was fabricated by the state to ruin his career.’
      • ‘That reference seems to me to be of little or no value to the defendants' case.’
      • ‘That case received significant support from the evidence of the defendant's wife.’
    2. 3.2A set of facts or arguments supporting one side of a debate or controversy.
      ‘the case against tobacco advertising’
      • ‘We therefore consider there is a case for retaining the complex monopoly provisions and propose to do so.’
      • ‘Few will be moved by its case against the company today, even though the grievance is genuine.’
      • ‘Speakers at this meeting put the case against the proposed handing over of council housing stock.’
      • ‘He sets out the case against posting someone else's personal email address.’
      • ‘He has travelled literally thousands of miles to argue the case against war and occupation.’
      • ‘He makes a strong case for the fact that dealing with loss is the key to dealing with life.’
      • ‘A wealth of studies indicate that a good case can be made for the first of these claims.’
      • ‘Such a view is not unreasonable and I am certainly not about to make a case against rights in general.’
      • ‘Waving banners and flags, protesters cheered and shouted as speakers put across the case against war.’
      • ‘He takes pains to limit the range and reach of his case against censorship.’
      • ‘It is telling the people of New Zealand that they will not be allowed to hear him put his case in his own words.’
      • ‘The case against is that soppy makeover shows are not what the BBC is there for.’
      • ‘They will also argue an economic case against membership.’
      • ‘The only case against anonymity for all accused until found guilty is that it would sell fewer papers.’
      • ‘Reading his book I began to recall other exercises in arguing the case for state control.’
      • ‘No group will have the funds or organization to make the case against any revenue cap.’
      • ‘The case against them, let alone against the government itself, is unproven.’
      • ‘Our application will be considered on its merits and we have confidence in our case.’
      • ‘I presume you will give equal prominence to the case against the euro.’
      • ‘If disaster movies are to be the new currency of scientific debate, who will make the case against alarmism?’
      argument, contention, reasoning, Logic, defence, justification, vindication, apology, polemic
      View synonyms
    3. 3.3An agreed summary of the facts relating to a legal case, drawn up for review or decision on a point of law by a higher court.
      • ‘We have prepared a draft case stated and, as normally happens where these are prepared, there are some minor problems with it and some matters my learned friend is concerned about.’
      • ‘The second question raised in the case stated was answered in the negative by the Divisional Court, and this aspect of its decision was not challenged in the appeal.’
      • ‘The following material facts appear from the case stated.’
      • ‘Now, a question then arises of the case stated to get it before the Full Court.’
      • ‘The Crown relies upon a number of cases in support of its position.’
      • ‘I was told that the issues raised in this case stated are of general practical importance for local authorities.’
      • ‘The case stated then went on to summarise the decision of the Crown Court.’
      • ‘This question unfortunately has never been reformulated or commented upon by the justices when the case stated was prepared.’
      • ‘I set them out in reverse order to that in which they appear in the case stated as it appears to be more logical to do so.’
      • ‘We understood that the additional notices were to be filed after you signed the case stated, your Honour, but we will certainly do so, immediately.’
      • ‘The Secretary of State relied in the cases stated on two alternative grounds for concluding that contributions were payable.’
      • ‘Often cases stated are done under section 18 of the Judiciary Act.’
      • ‘Now, we were not talking about facts set out in a case stated here; we were talking about admissions.’
      • ‘Although the case stated is not clear as to whether this sum represented costs or a fine it is common ground that it represented a contribution towards the costs of the prosecution.’
      • ‘As I say, the example is trivial and for the moment I cannot imagine a problem emerging about that, but we all know with cases stated the facts you have agreed are never the facts you need.’
      • ‘I asked my question because I had in mind paragraph 5 in the case stated in the Woolworths matter.’
      • ‘The application was accompanied by a draft case stated.’
      • ‘This is an appeal by way of case stated from a decision of the Huntingdon Magistrates' Court.’
      • ‘There is a draft case stated which I understand is acceptable to both sides, is that so?’
      • ‘I have answered the questions posed by the magistrates in the case stated in the final paragraph of the judgment.’
  • 4Grammar
    Any of the forms of a noun, adjective, or pronoun that express the semantic relation of the word to other words in the sentence.

    ‘the accusative case’
    • ‘The nominal part of this prepositional phrase is not in the nominative case.’
    • ‘Let us start by explaining all of the seven Croatian grammatical cases.’
    • ‘Do common cases become conventionalized as new senses for the words involved?’
    • ‘They had at least as many noun cases to contend with as Latin speakers did, as well.’
    • ‘Only relatively recently did grammarians begin a debate over noun cases in English.’
    inflection, form, ending
    View synonyms


  • as the case may be

    • According to the circumstances (used when referring to two or more alternatives)

      ‘the authorities will decide if they are satisfied or not satisfied, as the case may be’
      • ‘It's always nice to get feedback - good or bad as the case may be.’
      • ‘Hundreds turn up every day for their daily stroll, morning or evening as the case may be, around the lake.’
      • ‘Each has developed her own way of dealing, or not, as the case may be, with the past.’
      • ‘No one is so relentlessly partisan as to always be able to defend the left or the right, as the case may be.’
      • ‘Many times, comparing what you have written with your notes can help you specify more clearly what exactly you have learned, or not learned as the case may be.’
      • ‘I may be looking - or not looking, as the case may be - in all the wrong places, but I am yet to find a funny web animation.’
      • ‘This kind of experience may make you jump, frightening you a little - or even a lot, as the case may be - but in the end, it still doesn't feel real.’
      • ‘But for the most part, he is relying on his ability to see the possibilities for both players and to capitalize on them or thwart them as the case may be.’
      • ‘In view of the fact that there are two sets of traffic lights to pass through, or stop at as the case may be, no one should be doing 60 mph at all.’
      • ‘It often takes years, of course, to find the causes of air disasters or the perpetrators, as the case may be.’
  • be the case

    • Be so.

      • ‘If that were the case, then it would be remarkably short-sighted.’
      • ‘If the latter were the case, to be fair, he would by now probably have been arrested.’
      • ‘He said if that were the case there would have been evidence of internal haemorrhaging.’
      • ‘Imagine if this were the case in the run-up to the next general election!’
      • ‘If that were the case, she argued, the plant should be closed.’
      • ‘This is not to say that no journalists are taking up the issues - I wouldn't be writing this if that were the case.’
      • ‘Imitation, they say, is the greatest form of flattery and if this were the case then the two composers would be delighted.’
      • ‘If that were the case, it might fairly be said that anyone who didn't do it would have only himself or herself to blame.’
      • ‘Depending on your birthday, you could sometimes take this exam at the age of 10 and that was the case for me.’
      • ‘For if this were the case, there would be no such thing as profit.’
  • case by case

    • Considering or dealing with each instance separately, taking into account its individual circumstances and features.

      ‘applications would be considered on a case-by-case basis’
      ‘these situations are resolved case by case’
      • ‘Questions of impact are beyond the scope of this report and would need careful, case-by-case analysis to evaluate.’
      • ‘Requests would be considered on a case-by-case basis.’
      • ‘The new government were not aware of the plan and chose to tackle the problems on a case-by-case basis.’
      • ‘The case-by-case review seems destined to confuse as much as enlighten.’
      • ‘This case-by-case decision-making isn't good for anyone.’
  • in any case

    • 1Whatever happens or may have happened.

      ‘perhaps you'll let me know tomorrow—in any case I'll talk to you then’
      • ‘It will be turned into an outright ban in any case.’
      • ‘It said figures tended to drop off in any case at this time of year.’
      • ‘If it's a decision you'd make under those circumstances, it's one you should make in any case.’
      • ‘He's not looking for a page in the history book; he's got that in any case.’
      • ‘Most high-level leaders would have come to the site on that day in any case.’
      • ‘Of course, I understand that he was about to give up being shadow minister of the arts in any case.’
      • ‘So, one way or another, we'd be fixing to move about now in any case.’
      • ‘More and more people are finding out that their CDs simply lie around in boxes and are very rarely played in any case.’
      • ‘What he has done in the past would have happened in any case.’
      • ‘People said that, in any case, stores would be stocked with food and filling stations with fuel.’
      1. 1.1Moreover.
        ‘he wasn't allowed out yet, and in any case he wasn't well enough’
        • ‘I am warned that she is tired; hip operations have, in any case, made her sedentary.’
        • ‘It seems obvious, in any case, that transport within Scotland is as big a problem as transport to Scotland.’
        • ‘He was temperamentally unsuited, in any case, to repertory theatre.’
        • ‘I have not heard the Liberal Democrats propose that, and in any case, the Government would not allow it.’
        • ‘But the illustration in the book is even smaller and, in any case, not every detail is explained.’
        • ‘He is in contact with very few of them and, in any case, doesn't use email.’
        • ‘There is, in any case, enough mystery about what has actually happened.’
        • ‘I cannot afford to have it towed, and in any case, I do not yet know where to have it towed to.’
        • ‘He has, in any case, declared an interest in captaining Europe when the match is held in Ireland four years hence.’
        • ‘There is, in any case, something beautiful and appealing about her research.’
  • (just) in case

    • 1As a provision against something happening or being true.

      ‘we put on thick jumpers, in case it was cold’
      • ‘What are all the available exit routes in case I need to get out in a hurry?’
      • ‘They are afraid to talk to the student involved in case they say the wrong thing and upset them.’
      • ‘I wrapped it in cardboard and a jumper then put it in a bin liner in case it rained.’
      • ‘So what contingency plans are in place in case the almost unimaginable were to happen?’
      • ‘He did not want to be photographed in case it should happen again.’
      • ‘I am chuffed to bits about what is happening but still nervous in case anything goes wrong.’
      • ‘She was now on her feet but afraid to approach the door in case the same thing happened again.’
      • ‘My colleagues said I should stock up on food in case the storm made it difficult to shop.’
      • ‘I wanted the police to know what was taking place in case something happened to us.’
      • ‘Will we need wet-weather gear in case it rains, or sweaters if the nights get cold?’
    • 2If it is true that.

      ‘in case you haven't figured it out, let me explain’
      • ‘I lit the fire near Canada Water, in case you were worried about the London Eye burning down.’
      • ‘Just in case anyone missed it the first time, this is for kids that can't afford mobile phones.’
      • ‘Just in case any of you haven't heard, there was another memo released.’
      • ‘Just in case I haven't already made it clear, it's time for Lindsay to be discovered.’
      • ‘She tells herself this regularly, spells it out in case we might have not been paying attention.’
      • ‘However, in case you are wondering, Newcastle is still my favourite city in England!’
      • ‘Oh, and in case you're interested, the audience did stand for the Hallelujah chorus.’
      • ‘Oh, and in case you are going to criticise me, Brian, these are God's words, not mine.’
      • ‘Word has it they're making a film version of the piece, so keep an eye out in case you missed it.’
      • ‘I had covered it in one of my first columns so in case you missed it, here goes again.’
  • in case of

    • In the event of (a particular situation)

      ‘instructions about what to do in case of fire’
      • ‘Finally, don't forget to keep a note of serial numbers in case of theft.’
      • ‘We have to have a emergency exit sign over the door in case of fire.’
      • ‘He had taken it in case of this kind of situation but he hoped he would never have to use it.’
      • ‘Keep product literature in case of future questions and complete warranty cards.’
      • ‘The buildings should have an alternate power supply system in case of power failure due to fire.’
      • ‘Kennedy and Mackenzie rushed to them, eyes on the hillside in case of further attack.’
      • ‘His anxious daughter even bought a mobile phone for him specially, in case of emergency.’
      • ‘Locals called it The Dump and joked that even the rats wore wellington boots in case of catching something nasty.’
      • ‘Seat belts are necessary in case of accidents, such as braking to a sudden stop.’
      • ‘Obtain a number of quotes from reputable local traders, and get them in writing in case of problems’
  • in no case

    • Under no circumstances.

      ‘in no case is a specific funding target set’
      • ‘We should refer to participants in Special Olympics as athletes and in no case should the word appear in quotation marks.’
      • ‘Transcripts of all press conferences shall be made publicly available via the internet as soon as practicable, and in no case later than six hours after the end of the conference.’
      • ‘And in no case would they have stooped to some of today's musically and verbally monotonous genres.’
      • ‘These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.’
      • ‘But in no case should you treat labor as ‘its own reward.’’
      • ‘One should recognize that the allegiance required is to the Constitution, not to an individual; in no case should this professional allegiance be confused with blindly following the orders of superiors.’
      • ‘However, in no case should urgent consultation with a urologist be delayed if torsion is clinically suspected.’
      • ‘The Department of Defense has agreed to relocate its systems within two years, but in no case later then 2008.’
      • ‘Though we will not discuss the circumstances of this matter in no case should a customer interfere with flight attendants in the discharge of their duties.’
      • ‘The swords are measured to ascertain that they are of equal length, and in no case must a sword with a sharp edge or a notch be allowed.’
  • in that case

    • If that is or will be the situation.

      ‘‘I'm free this evening.’ ‘In that case, why not have dinner with me?’’
      • ‘You'd have no guarantees it would be reported fairly in that case either, do you?’
      • ‘Even your subjects, in that case, will be people who are similar to residents of Hong Kong.’
      • ‘He plays with serious emotion, and in that case, he let the emotion get the best of him.’
      • ‘The solution in that case would be to take time off to recover fully and come back stronger.’
      • ‘Indeed, the death toll could have been even more horrible in that case.’
      • ‘As Mr Jones knows, that is a misrepresentation of what would happen in that case.’
      • ‘So we see this enormous and aggressive response from the government in that case.’
      • ‘One of my cows died a while back, and in that case, the crows ate it up in a matter of hours.’
      • ‘The pandemic might actually be the least of the world's worries in that case.’
      • ‘Wouldn't marriage guidance be better in that case than searing honesty?’
  • it's a case of ——

    • Used to introduce a summary of a particular situation, especially one that is unavoidable under the circumstances.

      ‘it's not a case of wanting to return to work but having to’
      • ‘As far as my dreams for our business are concerned, it's a case of what will be will be.’
      • ‘I think, given the circumstances of our lives and that I have been a single mother since she was two, it's a case of so far, so good.’
      • ‘With robots it's a case of when they're good, they're very, very good but when they're bad they make better movies!’
      • ‘Several retailers have attempted to adopt the technology earlier, but it's a case of once bitten twice shy.’
      • ‘There's nothing between the top six or seven teams in the competition so it's a case of who plays well on the day - and we proved we can do that.’
  • on (or off) someone's case

    • informal Continually (or no longer) criticizing or harassing someone.

      ‘teachers, you know, get on your case’
      • ‘It's been a long day, the Manager has been on their case for weeks and they just aren't in the mood today.’
      • ‘I would like to take the time to thank two people who kept getting on my case to continue this story when I had just about given up from lack of motivation.’
      • ‘He took a while to win his first tournament and, after a lot of second places, the critics were on his case, implying he was a disappointment.’
      • ‘Feel like the whole human race is on your case and in your face just when you're not in the mood for hard and heavy deep and meaningfuls?’
      • ‘So, don't get on my case for enjoying my lifestyle, and I won't criticize you on your reading material.’
      • ‘He's on your case whenever you make a mistake in training.’
      • ‘The producer said that the network was always on their case to dumb the show down and have more sex and stuff like that (either sex or overt, over-the-top comedy).’
      • ‘She's making you do it - The missus is really on your case about this and the game on the TV is just about finished.’
      • ‘Talk about letting it all out; everybody's going to be on their case, especially about them wearing dresses to the summit meetings.’
      • ‘A couple of defeats in Scotland, he attests, and the press are on your case, putting additional pressure on a manager.’
  • on the case

    • 1Actively engaged in an official investigation.

      ‘officers on the case are unable to find a motive’
      • ‘The opening episode finds the pair on the case of a lawyer friend found dead after he represents a hacker who's allegedly spilled sensitive government secrets.’
      • ‘Ace detective Harry Bosch is also on the case in other exciting Michael Connelly crime-fiction novels.’
      • ‘Then Reed is murdered, and Turner sets himself on the case.’
      • ‘But of course Sherlock knew better, and got on the case quick sharp.’
      • ‘Soon, Inspector Sylvester is on the case - he interviews the manager of the fashion house.’
      • ‘Hundreds of officers are on the case, working as hard as they can even though they are physically drained.’
      • ‘I think we should get Poirot on the case.’
      • ‘Glad to know the police are on the case, of everyone doing anything they don't like, legal or otherwise.’
      • ‘There's a frantic scramble to the crime scene at Buckinghamshire CID, and over 65 policemen are on the case of a missing train engine.’
      • ‘Cops got on the case around March 19 and her abductor was found dead of an apparent suicide on March 31.’
      1. 1.1In the process of dealing with a particular situation or task.
        ‘the city council's pest control team are on the case’
        • ‘A Coronation Street spokesperson has acknowledged the complaints and promised that they are on the case to sort out the cobbles.’
        • ‘In a business world that routinely runs on big data, it's time to put computers on the case.’
        • ‘If you've ever wondered how big sneeze droplets can get, science is currently on the case.’
        • ‘Maybe the new mayor, who is the old mayor, could get on the case properly this time.’
        • ‘Now, the full, harrowing story is seeing the light of day for the first time since the press was on the case back in the 90s.’
        • ‘Just think what Juventus might do, if only they could get Joe Kinnear on the case.’
        • ‘Just like cooking, the results are all about how you put the ingredients together, and we've got some world-class chefs on the case.’
        • ‘Those pieces are long overdue to be gathered and published; one trusts that some enterprising person is on the case this very minute.’
        • ‘Luckily, her aunt Joan is on the case to remind her of the important things in life.’
        • ‘I mean, as long as you can make it funny, Dirk's on the case.’


Middle English: from Old French cas, from Latin casus fall, related to cadere to fall; in case directly from Latin, translating Greek ptōsis, literally fall.




Main definitions of case in English

: case1case2



  • 1A container designed to hold or protect something.

    ‘a silver cigarette case’
    • ‘Many English longcase clocks had cases designed in the style of the period in which they were made.’
    • ‘Shane showed us inside of the big barn, a glut of huge machines, cases, and containers.’
    • ‘Antique tools displayed in cases designed by Roger are found in their home in La Jolla.’
    • ‘Among the sofas I encounter a perspex case containing a sleek-looking chair.’
    • ‘Prices take a leap in the case of unadorned, silver cases by the legendary Faberge.’
    • ‘This rod comes in a cloth bag and a heavy duty protective case which can be taken on your airline as hand luggage.’
    • ‘A fireproof case which had contained the masterpiece was open to the public but without the painting.’
    • ‘You get five discs and each comes in its own case with nice looking sleeves.’
    • ‘They reminded me of those toys they used to sell in protective plastic cases.’
    • ‘Like the miniature, they were mounted under glass with a gilded surround in a handsome and ornate protective case.’
    • ‘Joey held the map in one hand and had his violin case gripped firmly in the other.’
    • ‘It comes with a protective carrying case and software.’
    • ‘I put the camera into the case and stubbed the cigarette, which was, by then, my fifth.’
    • ‘She was now sporting a pair of dark sunglasses and taking a cigarette out of a silver case.’
    • ‘She sat down and extracted a silver cigarette case from a small handbag hidden amongst the folds of her enormous dress.’
    • ‘The case contains a single liner card without a spine to enable identification when shelved.’
    • ‘They never stay in their cases or wrapping resulting in soap suds and gunk everywhere.’
    • ‘Glasses should be stored in individual cases or sleeves to protect them from damage.’
    • ‘My treasures are stored on a magnetic disk for the most part, and on silver disks in CD-ROM cases.’
    • ‘I explained to her that the case held a CD-R containing files for work that I wanted to take home and work on overnight.’
    • ‘The reliability of waterproof cases could be greatly improved if more manufacturers incorporated two independent seals.’
    container, box, canister, cassette, cartridge, receptacle, holder, vessel, repository
    cabinet, cupboard, chiffonier, bureau, sideboard
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The outer protective covering of a natural or manufactured object.
      ‘a seed case’
      • ‘The sensors' metal cases should make them show up through the scope.’
      • ‘After this you slide the hard drive into place and screw the case down.’
      • ‘They were packed in over 50 boxes that normally contained computer hard-drive cases.’
      • ‘The fan housing at the top of the case also contains the display and control panel.’
      • ‘When lost to view all you will hear are cones tumbling from branch to branch as seed cases spiral in the sun.’
      • ‘She felt around underneath them and her fingers met the cool outer case of the laptop.’
      • ‘First I took the case apart, separated the front panel from the case frame and cover.’
      • ‘If you take the cover off of the case you should be able to see the processor fan on the motherboard.’
      • ‘It makes the mp3 player a lot more tactile as it removes the sharp edges of the existing metal case.’
      • ‘Stored in its protective case the screen is small enough to carry around easily.’
      • ‘Soon the seeds in the inflated seed cases of the yellow rattle will be hard and rattle at a brush.’
      • ‘I turned and, attempting to be helpful, picked up a bit of keyboard that had lost its outer case.’
      • ‘The design of the case allows users to hold the console up to their ear to make phone calls.’
      casing, covering, sheath, sheathing, wrapper, wrapping, cover, envelope, sleeve, housing, jacket, capsule, folder
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2An item of luggage; a suitcase.
      • ‘We could tell he was a little bit strange, because he had turned up for the tour with two cases - a brief case and a suitcase.’
      • ‘His wife Ethel had to pack him a case that contained a mutton chop and a large bar of chocolate.’
      • ‘She is so excited about her trip of a lifetime next month she has already packed her case.’
      • ‘That men now pack their own cases is but small consolation.’
      • ‘It was the biggest mistake she ever made, because from then on I'd just pack the case and we'd be off again.’
      • ‘Never leave handbags, laptop cases or briefcases in sight even if empty.’
      • ‘Passengers were crammed inside, and roof-racks piled high with cases, luggage and sacks of maize.’
      • ‘We can hear footsteps above and the scraping sounds of our crates and cases being dragged across the floorboards.’
      • ‘Couples are being told to separate their luggage into different cases to share the weight.’
      • ‘After she had replaced her case in the netted baggage rack above her head, she opened the bag.’
      • ‘Not the flimsiest book to pack in a case, nor the easiest read, but well worth the effort.’
      • ‘A suspicious policeman insisted on checking their cases, which contained escape rations.’
      • ‘The thieves also stole luggage cases from the house, which it is suspected they used to carry out the hoard of stolen items.’
      • ‘Clothing found in the case that had contained the bomb was identified as having been bought in Malta.’
      • ‘All of her cases and trunks were put in one of the biggest rooms that the school had.’
      • ‘The victim then discovered the bag contained a carry case with three bottles of water inside.’
      • ‘My cases go in the cupboard under the stairs.’
      • ‘I was given my keys and I lugged my cases up two flights of stairs.’
      • ‘The cases are packed, the tickets are in your pocket, the car's in the garage and the dog's in the kennels.’
      • ‘As I packed my case for my trip to Norway I considered what I knew about the country.’
      suitcase, bag, travelling bag, travel bag, valise, grip, holdall, portmanteau
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3A box containing twelve bottles of wine or other drink, sold as a unit.
      ‘a case of champagne’
      • ‘Whereas I know people who can drink cases of beer and it doesn't affect them; I don't know how they do it.’
      • ‘Just fill in the voting form and you'll be automatically entered into a draw to win one of 20 cases of luxury wines.’
      • ‘But police and customs officers later seized cases of lager and wine that had been illegally imported.’
      • ‘Beer and milk may be sold in crates but, contrary to popular usage, wine is sold in cases.’
      • ‘Identify the wines you like and ask your local wine shop what price a case of 12 bottles would be.’
      • ‘Authorities say the suspects made off with thousands of cases of beer and wine before they were caught.’
      • ‘Irish wine consumers now buy over five million cases of wine a year.’
      • ‘In fact, they pour so many free samples that they end up giving away 35,000 cases of wine a year.’
      • ‘At Tesco in Oldham, she was sold a case of 12 bottles of Stella lager.’
      • ‘Prizes were given to lucky winners and those ordering cases of wine.’
      • ‘Some sent cash enclosed in unsigned birthday cards, while another showed his thanks via a couple of cases of wine.’
      • ‘It is posited that the case contains 12 bottles because that is as many as a man can comfortably carry.’
      • ‘My friend James got a good deal on a couple of cases of wine but the only room he had for storage was in his loft.’
      • ‘We buy a whole case of champagne but we are not going to drink it… just for you but we are not going to drink it.’
      • ‘Loyal customers deserve a change from the usual cases of wine and gift vouchers.’
      • ‘With it comes a case of wine that steers the taster through a range of styles and regions.’
      • ‘The best advice is to taste a wine by buying a single bottle before you commit to several bottles or a case.’
      • ‘Some 500,000 nine-litre cases are sold annually, making it second only to Glenfiddich.’
      • ‘They produce a miniscule two and a half, to three thousand cases of wine a year.’
      • ‘For example, the top thirty chateaux in Bordeaux only produce half a million cases of wine in any one year.’
      • ‘A case of beer, a case of wine, and six bottles of Wild Turkey were disposed of in merciless fashion.’
      crate, box, pack, bin, coffer, casket, chest, basket, hamper
      View synonyms
  • 2Each of the two forms, capital or minuscule, in which a letter of the alphabet may be written or printed.

    • ‘In a few cases, mixed-case lettering has worked.’
    • ‘Make sure that your file names are all in small case letters.’
    • ‘The computer can change the case to all lowercase letters, standard sentence form, or all capital letters.’
    • ‘Due to email address extractors and the amount of spam I get please type in small case with no spaces.’
    • ‘Numbers were written in Arabic numerals, in small case Roman numerals, or spelled out using Ordinals in preference to Cardinals.’


  • 1Surround in a material or substance.

    ‘the towers are of steel cased in granite’
    • ‘The watches are cased in solid titanium and crystal hard glass for increased protection.’
    • ‘The capacitor is then cased in a suitable synthetic resin.’
    • ‘The team built 30 homes by using thick bamboo as a frame and then casing it with woven bamboo covered with mortar.’
    cover, surround, coat, encase, sheathe, wrap, envelop
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Enclose in a protective container.
      ‘a cased pair of pistols’
      • ‘As I looked at the cover featuring a cased set of a pair of Great Western six-guns, not even in my wildest imagination could I ever conjure up a vision of someday not only handling but actually shooting these very same sixguns.’
      • ‘The guns are cased in their original brass cornered oak and leather case.’
      • ‘He brought his competition pistol with him, but kept it cased, and just sat and watched as the others shot.’
      cover, surround, coat, encase, sheathe, wrap, envelop
      View synonyms
  • 2informal Reconnoitre (a place) before carrying out a robbery.

    ‘I was casing the joint’
    • ‘Of course, what all of this means is that the thieves cased the joint during the day and came back that night to make their heist.’
    • ‘A slight 23-year-old for whom the term ‘lairy geezer’ could have been minted, he ambles on stage and gets to work as casually as if he was casing your living room for stuff to nick.’
    • ‘He is standing in the hall, casing the area.’
    • ‘The area is buzzing with talk of American security men casing local streets, pubs and hotels.’
    • ‘After casing the joint and setting up a fence for the goods, the gang goes about a late night break-in and precision burglary.’
    • ‘He cased a target location in the beginning of November, then decided to carry out his plan in the outdoor parking lot next to the Railway Station.’
    • ‘This individual was casing the area for a burglary that took place on the 26th.’
    • ‘He was in the habit of doing crossword puzzles while casing premises prior to breaking and entering, and would always obligingly leave them behind for police to find.’
    • ‘I'd been casing this neglected place for weeks.’
    • ‘She had somehow heard through the local grapevine that he was going to be flying in and out of this airfield, and she had been casing the area for hours.’
    • ‘If you see a guy who looks like a burglar casing the joint - that will be me!’
    • ‘I snooped about, casing the area for suspicious activity.’
    • ‘A credit check for an unfamiliar loan or lease could be a sign a thief is casing your credit history.’
    • ‘But in a gross violation of their trust, Williams spent the fortnight casing the house, working out where keys were kept to the safe and what possessions they had.’
    • ‘I could have smiled and waved and established a nice friendship, but instead I pretended not to see them and peered into windows and looked over my shoulder nervously as if I was casing the joint.’
    • ‘After spending two weeks casing the joint, they rob it on Christmas Eve.’
    • ‘Is she casing the joint in preparation for a future robbery?’
    • ‘How do we exclude them from people who are simply casing the joint so they can commit a robbery?’
    • ‘He had fallen asleep after casing the apartment for hours.’
    • ‘Was it a burglar casing our house to see if anyone would be around to catch him?’
    reconnoitre, inspect, investigate, examine, scrutinize, survey, scout, explore, make an observation of, take stock of
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French casse, chasse (modern caisse trunk, chest, châsse reliquary, frame), from Latin capsa, related to capere to hold.