Definition of catch in English:



[with object]
  • 1Intercept and hold (something which has been thrown, propelled, or dropped)

    ‘she threw the bottle into the air and caught it again’
    • ‘Cyrus had to react quickly with the napkin to catch the drop of spaghetti sauce that had fallen from his lips.’
    • ‘Try as Emilion might, he could not teach me to throw and catch the pesky things properly.’
    • ‘His head was tilted back, his hands splayed out as if to catch drops from a leaking firmament.’
    • ‘The guard dropped his rifle to catch the incoming equipment.’
    • ‘A childish glee overtook her, and she put out her tongue to catch the falling rain drops.’
    • ‘Cover the ground with canvas drop cloths to catch the paint chips.’
    • ‘There were always pots across one wall of her sitting room to catch the drops.’
    • ‘Her tongue darted out faster than humanly possible, catching a drop on the tip.’
    • ‘Waking up from its slumber in cool waters, it sluggishly walks around, often opening its mouth to catch the banana thrown by the woman walking along with her.’
    • ‘He quickly dropped the knife and caught the blood in his palm before it could drip onto the coverlet.’
    • ‘He tossed both knives into the air and caught them before dropping into a crouch like his brother.’
    • ‘Spread newspaper everywhere to catch the drops and make sure your room is well-ventilated.’
    • ‘Two people went up each tree while the third person ran around below with the backpack, trying to catch the fruit they dropped down.’
    • ‘At Christmas, there is a store that gives away the unsold Christmas trees to anyone who can catch one when thrown in the air by the owner.’
    • ‘Brooke hurried over, and made it in time to slip a paper towel under his nose to catch the first few drops of blood.’
    • ‘Every time there's even a semblance of running water, we put something under the faucet to catch the precious drops.’
    • ‘He jumped up, just barely catching the baseball thrown by his father.’
    • ‘She spins around like a little girl with her tongue sticking out to catch the drops.’
    • ‘It's a conditioned reflex learnt in the pubs of south Wales, where he'd catch beer bottles thrown at him by angry boyfriends and disarm them with a grin and a glug.’
    • ‘She snatched up her shirt and boombox, rubbing the back of her hand over her forehead, catching the sweat drops before they fell.’
    seize, grab, snatch, grab hold of, seize hold of, take hold of, lay hands on, lay one's hands on, get one's hands on, grasp, grip, clutch, clench, fasten on, pluck, hold, hang on to
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    1. 1.1 Intercept the fall of (someone)
      ‘he fell forwards and Linda caught him’
      • ‘She fell, but he caught her in his arms, and laid her gently on the floor.’
      • ‘How many times do you have to fall before someone catches you and stays around?’
      • ‘He catches me before I fall and then sends me past him, towards my closet.’
      • ‘He lowered himself while Jason stood just below him to catch him if he fell.’
      • ‘He caught her before she could hit the ground.’
      • ‘Andrew yelled as he ran to catch her before she fell to the deck.’
      • ‘He dismounted just in time to catch her as she fell, and as a blanket was drawn about her, she instantaneously fell into a deep sleep.’
      • ‘A wave of dizziness washed over her as she stood up, she was about to fall but strong arms caught her before she did.’
      • ‘He rushed forward towards the princess and caught her as she fell from her horse.’
      • ‘William caught her before she fell, holding her in the fold of his left arm.’
      • ‘Luckily, someone from behind caught her before she fell back onto the parking lot floor.’
      • ‘The bouncer steps toward her, his arms ready to catch her should she fall.’
      • ‘Thankfully, Sam is around almost all the time, keeping an eye on me, ready to catch me when I fall.’
      • ‘As she pitched forward, about to fall, someone caught her by her upper arms.’
      • ‘Her knees buckled under her and I caught her before she fell face down.’
      • ‘The two stumbled and Joanne would have fallen but Mark caught her in mid-fall.’
      • ‘Her legs grow weak underneath her and she almost falls but he catches her.’
      • ‘Her first reaction was to run over there, and catch Jackie before she fell, but Jason beat her to it.’
      • ‘Matt grabbed her quickly, catching her before she fell off the bed.’
      • ‘He was too far away to catch her before she fell, her head hitting the cement.’
      seize, grab, snatch, grab hold of, seize hold of, take hold of, lay hands on, lay one's hands on, get one's hands on, grasp, grip, clutch, clench, fasten on, pluck, hold, hang on to
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Seize or take hold of.
      ‘he caught hold of her arm as she tried to push past him’
      • ‘She swung it at Shouma's face, but he caught her hand and threw it back at her.’
      • ‘She stood up but he caught hold of her arm before she walked away.’
      • ‘Halfway down, he caught hold of a branch and then scaled his way back to where his sentry post once was.’
      • ‘With a little smile, she made a little jump and caught hold of the end of the branch that was nearest the floor.’
      • ‘I should have let her go like that, but something beyond me made me reach out and catch her arm.’
      • ‘He reached up and caught my chin gently with his hand, turning me to face him.’
      • ‘You step back and Michael reaches out, catching the hem of your t-shirt in his hand.’
      • ‘As Mary led him to where her SUV was parked, he reached out and caught her hand in his.’
      • ‘Jack caught hold of her arm and pulled her back to stand in front of him.’
      • ‘She caught hold of the boy's collar and dragged him, pushing him into his bed.’
      • ‘She reached over and caught his hand in hers, rubbing a thumb over the back of his palm.’
      • ‘They caught hold of his uniform and tore at it, especially all the more Zinfer tried to pull away from their grasp.’
      • ‘He caught hold of the neck of the offending garment and ripped it clean to the hem.’
      • ‘John used this time to free himself from the hold and he caught hold of the man breaking his attacker's wrist.’
      • ‘He caught hold of her frantically fluttering hands and forced her to stay still and look at him.’
      • ‘Leo caught hold of my arm and motioned to me that the coast was clear.’
      • ‘I slipped, caught hold of the back of a chair, and sat down on the floor, heavily.’
      • ‘When she reached the very top of the pipe she reached out with her hand and caught hold of the edge.’
      • ‘I thought my worst fears had come true when someone just caught hold of my hand.’
      • ‘As they swung back towards Evie's bar for the second time, she caught hold of it, and the boy released her.’
      • ‘When they would have parted at the top of the stairs, Sam caught hold of her hand, stopping her.’
      • ‘As we drove past, he caught hold of her hair and began pulling, even as her screams mingled with the loud music.’
      • ‘At the top of your pull, quickly drop under and catch the bar with your arms extended overhead.’
      • ‘But, he caught her arm and reached in his drawer in his nightstand and pulled out a syringe.’
      • ‘After that, it was a few moments before he caught hold of the younger boy's wrists and brought them up to pin them above Kael's head, bending down as he did so.’
      • ‘I was about to turn and walk back to the pack when Mac reached out and caught my arm.’
      • ‘The horse whinnied when Arnold caught hold of its bridle, rearing up on its hind legs.’
      • ‘The first three times I permitted it, but on the fourth I reached down and caught his hand.’
      seize, grab, snatch, grab hold of, seize hold of, take hold of, lay hands on, lay one's hands on, get one's hands on, grasp, grip, clutch, clench, fasten on, pluck, hold, hang on to
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3catch atno object Grasp or try to grasp.
      ‘his hands caught at her arms as she tried to turn away’
      • ‘Abby caught at his arm, and he started to push her away, then stopped himself.’
      • ‘Gabriel caught at her hand as she wrenched open the door.’
      • ‘She hurried up the steps behind him and caught at his sleeve to get his attention.’
      • ‘As he made to move off in search of new bandages, she weakly caught at his arm.’
      • ‘Automatically, his own hands rose to catch at his master's arm.’
      grasp, clutch, hold, clasp, grasp hold of, lay hold of, take hold of, latch on to, grab, seize, clench, cling to, catch at, get one's hands on, pluck
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4Cricket Dismiss (a batsman) by catching the ball before it touches the ground.
      ‘I was caught on the square-leg boundary for 96’
      • ‘He was caught alertly by Gatting at short leg.’
      • ‘Little wonder then most of the batsmen are being caught behind the wicket.’
      • ‘He lands them at around three quarters length, and then pitches the odd one up, seaming it away, and catching the batsmen, rooted to the crease, napping.’
      • ‘Australia bowler Brett Lee dives to catch England batsman Andrew Strauss for 37.’
      • ‘Four of their batsmen were caught from blazing shots by fielders stationed on the boundary rope.’
  • 2Capture (a person or animal that tries or would try to escape)

    ‘we hadn't caught a single rabbit’
    • ‘It always seemed to me that it was pretty rare for the hunt actually to catch a fox.’
    • ‘So far it had caught four mice, which he was certain were all different ones, rather than being the same one returning each time.’
    • ‘Government workers tried to catch the creature by laying cages and shooting it with tranquilliser darts, but they failed.’
    • ‘It was the fourth largest rainbow trout caught at the venue since 1979.’
    • ‘They feed cattle, dogs and cats because those animals are useful in daily life - cattle work in the fields, dogs protect the home and cats catch mice.’
    • ‘Anybody can get lucky and catch a single fish that's worth a prize.’
    • ‘Traps of this kind, which are designed to catch foxes and rabbits, have been outlawed since 1954 when the Pest Act came into force.’
    • ‘We arrived back at the Inn late that afternoon without having caught a single fish.’
    • ‘Nowadays, with cats getting fed so well by their owners, they don't bother about catching mice for food, they use them as playthings, along with birds and other harmless creatures.’
    • ‘We never made any secret of the fact that we used dogs to catch rabbits.’
    • ‘The culprit was quickly caught and thrown into a maximum security holding cell.’
    • ‘The Welsh terrier is a rough-coated animal with droopy ears, originally bred in Wales to catch rats, mice and other vermin.’
    • ‘Very few city dwellers are willing to go to the trouble of catching a wild cat, which is a dangerous exercise anyway.’
    • ‘The soldiers said they caught several species of fish including carp and a large catfish.’
    • ‘The hunt, which was out for about four hours, did not catch a fox.’
    • ‘If the fox is caught, it is killed extremely quickly by the lead hound, which has a weight of five times that of the fox.’
    • ‘The easiest time of the year to catch rabbit is winter.’
    • ‘‘No they are catching them and throwing them back into the water,’ I explained.’
    • ‘If you catch them you should throw them back in, or at very least agree not to take the three points.’
    • ‘When the rabbit season comes, we hunt and catch a few rabbits.’
    capture, seize
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    1. 2.1 Succeed in reaching a person who is ahead of one.
      • ‘Lavan chases after Yaakov and upon catching him accuses Yaakov of stealing his Terafim.’
      • ‘There was almost an element of teasing the pursuing Gary Smith, for the centre-half came close to catching the fleet-footed striker.’
      • ‘I headed to the Myers house; I wasn't fast enough to catch Theo before he headed inside so I knocked on the door.’
      • ‘Could I run out to the fields and tell the boys fast enough for them to catch Hector before he reached town?’
      • ‘The winner, ridden by Chris McCarron, caught the Irish horse in the run in and came out in front.’
      • ‘He caught them with little effort, looked at them, and then smiled wide showing plenty of teeth.’
      • ‘Her hopes of a medal were effectively dashed when she made slight contact with a barrier and used her final efforts trying to catch the bronze-medal group.’
      • ‘He was unable to catch the Briton ahead of him.’
      • ‘He says the people of Poland must work hard because they have a struggle ahead to catch the other countries of the West.’
      • ‘Nearing Poer Head, Conor and Denise Phelan in Endeavour managed to catch them but could not pass clear ahead.’
      • ‘However, once he got to third, Harvey and Templeman were just too far ahead for Westbrook to catch them.’
      • ‘You don't want them looking at the table and thinking: Chelsea are too far ahead for us to catch them.’
      draw level, draw level with
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    2. 2.2be caught in Unexpectedly find oneself in (an unwelcome situation)
      ‘my sister was caught in a thunderstorm’
      • ‘If it takes five hours in the process, with a resulting stiff do which makes you look like you were caught in a downpour, so what?’
      • ‘You should never be caught in a situation where junk food is your only option.’
      • ‘You do not want to be caught in a situation where you don't have enough room on the truck for everything you want to take with you.’
      • ‘A group of young, wealthy people are out for a cruise on a pleasure yacht when they are caught unexpectedly in a major storm.’
      • ‘My cheeks prickled with heat at the embarrassing circumstances we were caught in.’
      • ‘An hour later we were caught in a terrific thunder storm - lightning, torrential rain, the works.’
      • ‘In his hands, Javier develops into a sympathetic character who is caught in the middle of an impossible situation.’
      • ‘They were catching fewer and fewer fish, and often they were caught in storms at sea.’
      • ‘The Chinese migrants drowned in February when they were caught in fast-rising tides on the sands of Morecambe Bay.’
      • ‘But there was always the danger that he would be caught in situations he could not easily explain.’
      • ‘Speaking yesterday, Mr Ferguson said the law needed to be changed before anyone else was caught in the same situation.’
      • ‘If it were a fair world, the latter type would never be caught in a situation where things go horribly wrong.’
      • ‘The spectators quickly made an exit, not wishing to be caught in crossfire.’
      • ‘But as we were riding through a desert, to make things even more challenging, we were caught in a sandstorm.’
      • ‘So, the president really seems to be caught in a Catch 22 here and it's largely of his own making.’
      • ‘I don't want us to be caught in that and by the looks of it I'd say we could be in for some snow.’
      • ‘I'm finally free of the round of writing and commissioning I've been caught in for the last fortnight.’
      • ‘We'd later learned they were caught in the traffic jam on the return trip.’
      • ‘Would taxpayers have relief when faced with the situation of being caught in circumstances beyond their control?’
      • ‘My last day there, we were caught in the middle of some ugliness on that bridge.’
      • ‘But the trio were caught in heavy swells near Mayor Island late on Sunday night on the last leg of their return.’
    3. 2.3 Surprise (someone) in an incriminating situation or in the act of doing something wrong.
      ‘he was caught with bomb-making equipment in his home’
      • ‘To their surprise they caught him with a soldier on Hampstead Heath.’
      • ‘The fact is that it is ineffective in cases of proven crime and criminals who have been caught red-handed.’
      • ‘But Frank returns unexpectedly and catches the two together in a confrontation that will change everyone's lives.’
      • ‘For the second week in a row a top Irish jockey was caught dropping his hands on a winning placed horse.’
      • ‘My last stepfather, upon catching me acting out the putrid stories, declared me crazy.’
      • ‘Flushing a bit upon catching herself staring at him, Meira lowered her head quickly so as not to be noticed.’
      • ‘In August 2001 he was caught at the wheel of his car while more than three times over the legal limit.’
      • ‘Do not be taken by surprise if you are caught for speeding or riding without helmets this week.’
      • ‘But boy were we wrong when we caught him last night in a hot new nightclub in town getting down and dirty.’
      • ‘Muscat was once caught naughtily propelling a clump of mud in the direction of an opponent stepping up to take a penalty.’
      • ‘Funnily enough, I was almost caught in a compromising situation earlier by one of the engineers.’
      • ‘Unless we catch them throwing a bottle or dropping litter all we can do is ask them to leave.’
      • ‘He repressed an urge to call for help, realizing how it would look if anyone caught him in this situation.’
      • ‘But the exercise continues as the police do not want to be caught napping.’
      • ‘An under-age driver caught at the wheel of a car has been warned that he could be locked up if he drives again within a year.’
      • ‘The individual was sentenced to six years in jail in July 2003 after being caught with a haul of heroin.’
      • ‘She was caught by our photographer dropping bags of bread for the birds near the town bridge.’
      • ‘Police must be on top at all times and not caught napping when criminals strike.’
      • ‘But as Alex began to unbutton his pants, she quickly turned her head, afraid he would catch her looking.’
      • ‘He spends all of his waking hours hatching schemes to catch the thief red-handed.’
      discover, detect, find, come across, come upon, stumble on, chance on, light on, bring to light, turn up, expose, find out, unmask
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    4. 2.4 Come upon (someone) unexpectedly.
      ‘unexpected snow caught us by surprise’
      • ‘We've all been so worried about peak oil, it is not surprising we were caught unawares.’
      • ‘The cleric thinking he had done all he could do, was then caught off guard.’
      • ‘US military and civilian leaders were again caught by surprise, and another costly price was paid in American casualties.’
      • ‘Kenny draws blood from him but is then caught off guard.’
      • ‘The situation had caught her so off guard that she had no idea how to approach it.’
      • ‘There is little doubt that Stephen was caught by surprise.’
      • ‘He stood staring at her, almost as though her entrance had caught him by surprise.’
      • ‘The unexpected attack caught him off guard and he landed on the porch with a thud.’
      • ‘If he caught you at the wrong time, he could talk your ear off.’
      • ‘The bike was powerful - far more so than he had expected - and the unexpected force caught him off guard.’
      • ‘I am afraid if we wait any longer, the fall rains will catch us.’
      • ‘He is again caught by surprise and the two topple over.’
      • ‘Intelligence authorities resolved that the United States should never again be caught unprepared.’
      • ‘On Monday an early morning call from our ace reporter Adam Nichols caught him by surprise.’
      • ‘Timms' move was so sudden, so unexpected, that it caught the woman completely by surprise.’
      • ‘Once she was right behind him she jumped on his back and caught him completely by surprise.’
      • ‘When the bad weather hit I was caught completely by surprise.’
      • ‘The theatrical techniques adopted by the troupe caught the audience by surprise.’
      • ‘By the end of the day though I was receiving profuse apologies from my accuser talking about pressures of work and being caught at a bad moment.’
      • ‘An unseasonably early and severe storm caught several climbers by surprise in the Sierra Nevada.’
  • 3no object, with adverbial of place (of an object) accidentally become entangled or trapped in something.

    ‘a button caught in her hair’
    • ‘The hem of her pants caught under her shoes and she toppled toward, taking the boy with her.’
    • ‘Just then his pants caught on a nail that was sticking out from the roof, and the nail stopped his fall.’
    • ‘‘I'm sorry,’ she said, coming so hastily to her feet her heel caught in her skirt and she lurched forward.’
    • ‘Then the toe of your shoe catches in a crack in the sidewalk and you stumble forward, but quickly regain your balance, trying to keep you dignity intact.’
    • ‘Her dress caught under her chair.’
    entangle, snarl, entwine, intertwine, intertwist, twist, ravel, knot, enmesh, coil, mat, jumble, muddle
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    1. 3.1with object and adverbial of place Have (a part of one's body or clothing) become entangled or trapped in something.
      ‘she caught her foot in the bedspread’
      figurative ‘companies face increased risks of being caught in a downward spiral’
      • ‘He caught his right foot in a drain, his knee shredded, never to be the same.’
      • ‘She chased him through the security gates and nearly caught her flowing skirt in the elevator.’
      • ‘I slipped the camera under first, but still managed to catch my shirt on the lock above.’
      • ‘He backed away, catching his long hair in the bush behind him as he did so.’
      • ‘She got up, careful not to catch the lab coat that Kate had lent her on the chair.’
      • ‘Boys, nay men, need to remember to wipe the toothpaste from the corners of their mouth, the crumbs from their beards and not to catch their shirts in their flies.’
      • ‘Danny had just caught his shirt and a bit of the skin underneath on some barbed wire.’
      • ‘I don't think anyone would start a dive in such a condition, but catching your suit on a sharp piece of wreckage is not uncommon.’
      • ‘Although she was totally at ease with her various facial attachments, I worried constantly about her catching something upon a pin or ring or stud.’
      • ‘I once caught a scarf in a lift door as it closed and only just managed to heave it free and save myself from a gruesome end.’
      • ‘She shifted her legs, being careful not to catch her trousers on the seat edge and sniffed the air delicately.’
      • ‘I climbed out of the carriage after Amari, who was carefully making sure she didn't catch her dress on the carriage door.’
      • ‘Stumbling out, Steven catches his watch in a woman's hair.’
      • ‘On New Year's Eve, a woman caught her hair in an escalator.’
      become trapped, become stuck, stick, become wedged, become entangled, become snarled up, become snagged, snag
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    2. 3.2with object and adverbial of place Fix or fasten in place.
      ‘her hair was caught up in a chignon’
      • ‘I raise my hand to smooth my hair back, catch some of it over my ear, but when I carry my hand near my hair it crackles and dances away in the dry wind.’
      • ‘Her hair was caught back in a great net of silver, also dotted with diamonds.’
      fasten, do up, hook, strap, tie, secure, clasp, catch, clip
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  • 4Reach in time and board (a train, bus, or aircraft)

    ‘they caught the 12.15 from Oxford’
    • ‘Police also want to speak to three men who caught a train about 8.40 pm and were overheard talking about the incident.’
    • ‘The group stayed on that boat for several hours, then unexpectedly disembarked and caught a later boat.’
    • ‘Passengers would be able to spend time in the city before booking in and catching a new secure rail service to their flight.’
    • ‘Older people don't all have cars and must cross the road to catch the bus.’
    • ‘Your mother and I caught a bus from the airport last time.’
    • ‘It is not as if you can catch a bus or train, or hail a cab to go anywhere.’
    • ‘They stayed overnight in London and the next day caught another train to Brighton for their week-long honeymoon.’
    • ‘I alighted from the train at Huddersfield and caught a bus to New Mill.’
    • ‘The pair fled in a taxi to Hull, where they caught the first train to Manchester and later went to London where they were finally arrested.’
    • ‘I caught the train and it was really nice to just sit back and read.’
    • ‘I caught the train to Slovenia with a local, who was happy to tell me a bit about the country and help me master a few language basics.’
    • ‘Mr North now has to catch a bus and a train to get to work which takes him two hours.’
    • ‘I only just catch my train, quickly jump on the first carriage, and bury myself in my morning paper.’
    • ‘Back in London he caught a train from King's Cross to York.’
    • ‘The next morning I caught a bus to east Leeds and walked about.’
    • ‘At the end of that week, Pip drops Herbert off to catch his ship to Cairo.’
    • ‘They were then taken to buy visas and had to reach Cancun to catch a flight to Cuba.’
    • ‘I slept another night and caught the train the next morning.’
    • ‘One couple from Malton said they could catch the train from home and that the bus simply did not offer enough comfort.’
    • ‘Then I had to catch a bus, then a train, and walk quite a way to the house.’
    be in time for, reach in time, make, get to
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    1. 4.1 Reach or be in a place in time to see (a person, performance, programme, etc.)
      ‘she was hurrying downstairs to catch the news’
      • ‘I wandered out of the foyer, just catching the start of the next interaction at the reception desk.’
      • ‘There was one of these in Seattle that I only caught the tail end of because I was working.’
      • ‘I had caught the tail end of his performance - enough to give me but a small idea of the man.’
      • ‘Along the way several security lights were triggered one by one and the neighbours twitched their curtains aside to catch the end of the display.’
      • ‘I don't usually watch a lot of local TV but happened to catch a programme last night about a farm with a herd of buffaloes.’
      • ‘I worked another 12 hour shift on Sunday, getting home in time to catch the tail end of the Oscars.’
      • ‘We've arrived just in time to catch the end of Feast Week, a festival of which I still know very little.’
      • ‘I made it in time to catch the end of the women's three-metre springboard event.’
      • ‘On the upside, I think I'll get to catch an episode of Sports Night.’
      • ‘Fans of Chorley artist Tom Titherington can still catch his exhibition of his memories of the Second World War at the University of Liverpool.’
      • ‘It's open to all, so go along and catch the end of a festival that demonstrates a rare collegiate collaboration, all in the name of art.’
      • ‘There is still time to catch an exhibition of beautiful and practical baskets and intriguing paper imprints at Brantwood's Severn Studio.’
      • ‘I was then just in time to catch the final episode of The Office.’
      • ‘Andy Warhol had got up early in his mother's old house on East 66th Street, Manhattan, to catch the match on the TV networks.’
      • ‘It was 18 July, unseasonably hot in Beirut, and I got back from the vet's just in time to catch the end of the 12 o'clock news.’
      • ‘I've just caught the end of a brief TV programme about Sonia Lo, co-founder of A Recipe for Peace.’
      • ‘And if you're lucky, you might just catch the end of the sales.’
      • ‘Just this morning I caught the tail end of yet another appeal on behalf of a young child in desperate need of surgery abroad.’
      • ‘You can now stop following scores on the Internet after lunch and rushing home from work to catch the final session on TV.’
      • ‘If you get a chance - like, you're at home during the day, or babysitting, or a student, or something - catch an episode.’
    2. 4.2North American informal Attend or watch (a performance)
      ‘we'll get some burgers and catch a movie’
      • ‘We all decided to head down to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to catch a screening of the movie Homepage.’
      • ‘I should run to the grocery store once I get my menus planned for next week and we're going to try and catch a movie.’
      • ‘They caught a late movie, and it was quite late before they made it back to Marin's apartment.’
      • ‘Anthony and Jamie decided to catch a late movie so they left soon after Conner did, leaving only Rachel and Ian.’
      • ‘Soccer and rugby fans could face difficulty catching matches in Bradford's pubs next season because Sky Sports has upped its subscriptions.’
      • ‘Hopefully ex-pat Crikey readers can respond to our email request below to let us know how and where you are planning on catching the big race.’
      • ‘I plan to spend Saturday shopping, catching a movie or taking a run in the park.’
      • ‘We could catch a movie, go to downtown San Fran, shop around there a bit.’
      • ‘‘Let's go catch a movie,’ Matt said as he tossed an apple in the air and caught it.’
      • ‘My last class is at three, maybe we can catch a movie; you know, to get your mind off things.’
      • ‘Well, we were thinking of catching the movie at six, but hanging out at the beach a bit before the movie.’
      • ‘He had told me to meet him at six again and we would catch the movie at 6:30.’
      • ‘After that we're all going to the movies to catch that latest horror flick.’
      • ‘Friday Night I would pick them up and head to the Promenade, maybe for a quick bite at Islands or On The Border and then catch a movie.’
      • ‘So, to sum up and conclude, if you want the long version of a great story, go rent the first two movies, then catch the last one in theaters.’
      • ‘That big building with the Coca-Cola sign was next to where he used to catch movies with his friend.’
      • ‘She had the house to herself since Mariana went out to catch a movie with Jeremy and her parents were running errands.’
      • ‘The center is also used for just getting off the streets or catching an afternoon movie on the big screen t.v. with surround sound.’
      • ‘Maybe catching a movie will help iron out stress between friends.’
      • ‘Saturday night Big-P and I caught an early session of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and I loved it.’
      be present at, be at, be there at, sit in on, take part in
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  • 5Engage (a person's interest or imagination)

    ‘it was the business scheme that had caught his imagination’
    • ‘It is clear at this stage that the song has a universal appeal, catching the imagination of young and old alike.’
    • ‘But they soon caught the public imagination, in Yorkshire more than most places.’
    • ‘Something about her caught my imagination, not beauty in the traditional sense but some unknown quality.’
    • ‘There were other topics that caught my interest.’
    • ‘He knows how to catch the interest of a college crowd, too.’
    • ‘I haven't read it all yet, but one facet of the investigation has caught my interest.’
    • ‘He was just walking through the library, not looking for anything in particular, when he comes upon a book that catches his attention.’
    • ‘Her red hair caught his attention first, and then it was those icy blue eyes.’
    • ‘The scheme has already caught the imagination and interest of local school children.’
    • ‘Consequently, house prices would need to drop very significantly to catch my attention.’
    • ‘I have quite an eye for fashionable clothing and this garment caught my attention immediately.’
    • ‘The next venture was a jumble-sale which caught the imagination of so many and began the fund-raising in earnest.’
    • ‘She browsed through her entries for a long time, before finding something that caught her interest.’
    • ‘Having caught your attention and thrown you back in time, he shows you something worth watching.’
    • ‘If Egan had simply made this argument and then left town, his lobbying effort might not have caught my notice.’
    • ‘To catch students' interest and to highlight the importance of recycling a competition is being held over the next four weeks.’
    • ‘American modernism, full of exiles and immigrants, caught his attention early.’
    • ‘You go to a shopping mall and have to keep detouring around people who stop dead in the middle of the aisle when something catches their interest.’
    • ‘I hope this scheme will catch the imagination of the public and we shall be exploring the opportunities for investment from the private sector.’
    • ‘The idea has caught the imagination of the national media and it is hoped more information will be available next week.’
    • ‘Again I was lost in a daze, staring at the boy who had caught my attention earlier.’
    engage, capture, attract, draw, gain, grab, arrest, seize, hold, win, absorb, engross, rivet, grip, captivate, bewitch
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1 Perceive fleetingly.
      ‘she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror’
      • ‘At first she could see nothing, but then caught a glimpse of something black trying to hide from her behind a branch.’
      • ‘Many times Edward caught sight of Sarah dropping her fork or spoon, and although she look quite the lady he knew better because of her manners.’
      • ‘I caught a glimpse of a clock and it read about two ten in the morning.’
      • ‘My upper body wavered precariously and my eyes watered as I caught sight of the drop below.’
      • ‘I looked up and caught sight of Kenny throwing his black backpack on the table.’
      • ‘His body froze as he caught sight of another man standing back in the shadows of the cave with his arms folded across his chest.’
      • ‘As he walked to the showers he caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror.’
      • ‘He even caught a glimpse of some movement out of the corner of his eye.’
      • ‘I still recall one Sunday morning when I caught a glimpse of them outside.’
      • ‘Elly turned to Jade's companion, her jaw dropping as she caught sight of the strange menagerie.’
      • ‘Glancing over his shoulder, he caught a glimpse of her on her cell phone.’
      • ‘As he leapt out of the water and towards his bike, he was travelling at such lightning speed that I barely caught a glimpse of him.’
      • ‘The shopkeeper could have caught a glimpse of the plastic bags.’
      • ‘Among the sludgy grey clouds were a few streaks of indigo and, when the sun peeked out and the wind dropped, we caught a glimpse of what sea kayaking is all about.’
      • ‘The customer smiled back and then I caught sight of Aidan reaching with his hand toward the lowest shelf.’
      • ‘Is this a sight from heaven or what: catching a glimpse of her is enough to make you reach for the blood-pressure tablets.’
      • ‘This time she caught a glimpse of his slim figure but she still could not see his face.’
      • ‘My already sad heart dropped when I caught sight of the peeling piece of wood that read New Hope Ranch.’
      • ‘A good hour passes before we reach Skull Island and catch a glimpse of the mighty Kong.’
      • ‘Hurriedly pulling a comb through his dark hair, he caught his image in a mirror.’
      perceive, notice, observe, discern, detect, note, become aware of, make out, spot, see
      View synonyms
    2. 5.2 Hear or understand (something said), especially with effort.
      ‘he bellowed something Jess couldn't catch’
      • ‘Let's call her Tamsin, Or Timsun, as she would say it, although she said her name so fast I never caught it.’
      • ‘He went inside mumbling something about friends and enemies that I didn't quite catch.’
      • ‘‘Be quiet, everyone,’ he said as he caught the drift of what was coming out of the juke box.’
      • ‘I had to raise and lower the volume more than once to catch what had just been said.’
      • ‘But it was an effort for him to talk, his voice so low that I could not always catch what he said, and sometimes he would collapse back on to the bed trying to hide his exasperation.’
      • ‘The few words that Neesha did catch were too jumbled up to understand.’
      • ‘Our hyper friendly waiter must have caught the drift of our chatter about geese and pigs, and soon joined in.’
      hear, perceive, recognize, discern, make out
      View synonyms
    3. 5.3 Succeed in evoking or representing.
      ‘the programme caught something of the flavour of Minoan culture’
      • ‘He explores the space, catches its relationship and represents it in various forms.’
      • ‘It really catches the feel of Dave's work.’
      • ‘His mastery was in describing exciting events and in catching the flavor of the moment.’
      evoke, conjure up, suggest, summon up, call to mind, recall, express, reproduce, represent, show, encapsulate, capture, record
      View synonyms
  • 6 Strike (someone) on a part of the body.

    ‘Ben caught him on the chin with an uppercut’
    • ‘The stinging blow caught the youth across the head, sending him stumbling to the side.’
    • ‘The blow caught Philip in the back and sent him flying onto his stomach.’
    • ‘Sally stumbled backward as a second blow caught her in the forehead.’
    • ‘Peter swung around, and the flat of his knife caught her a glancing blow on the side of the head.’
    • ‘The informant's blow caught him full force in the chest causing him to curse into the gag.’
    • ‘A shock ran through him like a physical blow, catching him in the stomach and nearly knocking him over.’
    • ‘He was able to dodge, but only partially, and the blow caught him on the outside of his rib cage.’
    • ‘Eric spun around to block the blow but was caught from the side by the killer's fist.’
    • ‘The perspex side caught me a nasty blow (as they say) on the forehead and the forearm.’
    • ‘She just barely dodged a more deadly blow that only caught her in the chest cutting open her shirt and cutting her skin.’
    • ‘Warner lunged, but Walters moved aside, catching Warner a glancing blow with a fist to the side of his head.’
    • ‘The blow that caught me around the ears knocked me to the floor.’
    • ‘The blow caught him heavily in the chest and he started to slump.’
    • ‘He evaded the blow quite easily and caught Steve in the mouth with his left fist.’
    • ‘He saw Derryn's fatigue and struck out quickly, catching Derryn across his ribs with his blade.’
    • ‘A few heavy blows caught me bruisingly in the face, and I quickly let go of the creature.’
    hit, strike, slap, smack, crack, bang, connect with, contact
    View synonyms
    1. 6.1 Accidentally strike (a part of one's body) against something.
      ‘she fell and caught her head on the corner of the hearth’
      • ‘On a mountain bike, you have to have narrow bars or you'll catch yourself on a tree.’
      • ‘Round-off protruding parts on the stairs, e.g. ends of the landing, stair edges and posts, so that you do not catch yourself on them or injure yourself on the sharp edges.’
      • ‘As he fell he caught his head on the edge of the bay dock leveller.’
      • ‘I caught my leg on the corner of a little metal bench and I really started to bleed.’
      • ‘I pictured a back-handed blow, a woman slumping, catching her head on a hard surface.’
  • 7Contract (an illness) through infection or contagion.

    ‘he served in Macedonia, where he caught malaria’
    • ‘The department also called for residents to go to hospitals once they catch a fever or feel soreness in their bones.’
    • ‘People normally catch this flu from infected birds, usually chickens and ducks.’
    • ‘It damages unborn babies, and may cause miscarriage if the mother catches the disease while pregnant.’
    • ‘So far 12 students have gone down with the virus and college staff say that unless all students are vaccinated more could catch the disease.’
    • ‘This can help symptoms, but patients are at risk from catching pneumonia or developing an air leak where the lung is re-sealed.’
    • ‘Some vaccines do not offer life-long immunity and often the disease is far more serious when caught at an older age.’
    • ‘Her daughter then caught a fever that carried her off within twenty-four hours.’
    • ‘People frequently catch this infection as children or young adults.’
    • ‘If you catch the flu, carefully monitor and control your blood sugar levels and adjust your diabetes medication as needed.’
    • ‘At the age of 28, she caught a tropical fever from her patients and died.’
    • ‘While catching a disease from your pet is rare, certain groups of people are more likely than others are to become seriously ill from a pet.’
    • ‘At the time there were about one billion people in the world and about half of those caught this illness.’
    • ‘A child with TB may have to stay in the hospital so others do not catch the infection.’
    • ‘I thought that he had probably caught cat flu and was going to die.’
    • ‘Thomas, who regularly catches urinary infections, urgently needs surgery to expand his bladder to ensure he will not suffer kidney failure.’
    • ‘He caught scarlet fever when he was a young child and this affected his hearing.’
    • ‘The 72-year-old, who suffers from asthma, caught pneumonia while at the hospital.’
    • ‘And during a disease outbreak, a number of vaccinated people will indeed catch the disease.’
    • ‘At this time it is not clear if the female nurse caught the disease from the patient, or through other sources.’
    • ‘Despite being given 34 surgical staples in his skull and catching pneumonia in hospital, Ben was taken off a ventilator one week after the accident.’
    become infected with, contract, get, take, become ill with, become sick with, fall ill with, fall sick with, be taken ill with, show symptoms of, succumb to, develop, come down with, go down with, sicken for, fall victim to, be struck down with, be stricken with
    View synonyms
  • 8no object Become ignited and start burning.

    ‘the rafters have caught’
    • ‘The flame catches and burns the empty paper to an ash.’
    • ‘It took several tries for the tinder to catch in the damp atmosphere.’
    • ‘She thrust the torch into the funeral bier and watched as the fire caught and spread on the dry wood.’
    • ‘The house caught and burned completely to the ground.’
    • ‘The wood caught, but it burned feebly.’
    • ‘Shrugging, he threw some twigs into the fire, watching them catch and crackle.’
    • ‘Analise poked at the embers, hoping a new fire would catch.’
    • ‘Shortly a fire caught in the wick of the oil lamp and shed light through the tent.’
    • ‘In horror I watched as other men surrounded the circle, all with their own torches trying to get the fire to catch.’
    ignite, become ignited, burn, start burning, flame, catch fire, take fire, burst into flames, flame up, kindle
    View synonyms
    1. 8.1 (of an engine) fire and start running.
      ‘the generator caught immediately’
      • ‘Her hands were shaking - it took her three tries for the ignition to catch.’
      • ‘The first two Toyota pickups we got into wouldn't start, even with eight men rocking them to get the engine to catch.’
      • ‘With a sudden jolt, the primary engines caught and the ship sped skywards on a comet of light.’
      • ‘He turned the car on, waiting for the engine to catch for a minute.’
      • ‘Every time it rained, which was often in Miami, the belt would slip on the pulley and it would take a lot of pumping to get the motor to catch.’
      start, start running, fire, begin working, go, function, operate
      View synonyms


  • 1An act of catching something, typically a ball.

    • ‘As Robinson positioned himself and waited for the ball to arrive, he wasn't the only one to realise the importance of a clean catch.’
    • ‘After watching a quick compilation of plays, it was determined that the receivers were taking their eyes off the ball before making a catch.’
    • ‘On one play, he turns around, stops and makes a one-handed catch of an underthrown ball.’
    • ‘Patterson has turned in some acrobatic, diving catches of late.’
    • ‘Three things are required to make a legal catch of a batted ball.’
    • ‘He also is a skilled receiver who is productive running with the ball after making a catch.’
    • ‘Within five minutes it was clear that the midfield battle was being hopelessly lost with neither a break or a clean catch coming Carlow's way.’
    • ‘They all allowed a high ball to bounce when they could have made the clean catch.’
    • ‘I saw myself fumbling easy catches and looking clumsy.’
    • ‘In the 37th minute, the scoring lapse was broken in some style as Conor Phelan made a magnificent catch before sending the ball between the posts.’
    • ‘Jessica panicked when he missed the catch and the ball came flying to her.’
    • ‘He continues to make tough catches, runs well after the catch and seems to have a knack for getting open.’
    • ‘They've been able to make great catches because the ball is thrown softly.’
    • ‘Robinson is also a fighter for the ball, and his catches are team boosters.’
    • ‘Cork's Nicholas Murphy won seven of those kick-outs, including four clean catches.’
    • ‘Smyth bravely made a great catch and played a long ball out of defence aiming for Curry.’
    • ‘She made a great catch and shot the ball over the bar for the last score.’
    • ‘This would not be a legal catch because the ball is no longer in flight once it hit the umpire who is part of the ground.’
    • ‘The last thing you want to do is lose the ball after a good catch.’
    • ‘Keeper Nicky Roberts - who had a good game otherwise - misjudged the catch and the ball hopped tamely and agonisingly over the goal line.’
    1. 1.1Cricket A chance or act of catching the ball to dismiss a batsman.
      ‘he took a brilliant catch at deep square leg’
      • ‘It was also an innings of great catches and easy misses.’
      • ‘He was out caught to a fine catch by Hayward at mid-off just four short of his best of 73 not out.’
      • ‘New Zealand's fielding was also awful with several misfields and dropped catches.’
      • ‘Countless runs were gifted away through shoddy fielding and innumerable dropped catches.’
      • ‘It has been a long time since we have seen an Indian wicket-keeper who dives headlong for catches.’
    2. 1.2 An amount of fish caught.
      ‘the UK's North Sea haddock catch’
      • ‘France, which lands the majority of deep sea fish, is proposing the introduction of the first ever limits on deep-sea catches.’
      • ‘Boats reported a great catch of fish with many boats getting a great variety of species.’
      • ‘He claimed to have evidence of widespread fraudulent reporting of fish catches, falsification of logbooks and illegal fishing in closed areas.’
      • ‘The decline in fish catches in the Great Lake and the river below it may not yet be dramatic, but it is taking place for a variety of reasons.’
      • ‘Sometimes catches of a hundred fish a boat are not unusual on the Skerries if you are lucky enough to catch the weather and the tides happily coinciding.’
      • ‘There is still some way to go in reducing catches and fishing fleets before benefits can be felt from bigger and healthier stocks, he said.’
      • ‘Winners were Paul Little and Isaac Miller with a fantastic catch, given the conditions, of 12 for 30 lb 9oz.’
      • ‘Many stillwater fisheries continue to report good catches.’
      • ‘Our local fishermen are getting reasonable catches of prawns and little fish.’
      • ‘At home catches of white fish have been poor over the last couple of weeks.’
      • ‘Some stretches are very well stocked and if you're on fish, multiple catches are common.’
      • ‘It states that there are no quotas in force limiting catches and sustainable fishing levels need to be investigated as a matter of urgency.’
      • ‘Kevin Whincup also advises that a recent consignment of roach into the front pond should see catches continuing through winter.’
      • ‘So abundant was the subsequent catch of fish that Peter and the others had to call for help just to get it all into the boats.’
      • ‘Fish stocks and catches are up, and they have the bonus of jobs and diving tourism income.’
      • ‘Many of us have enjoyed the good old days of huge catches with very few limitations, but those days are long gone as times change.’
      • ‘The beaches of East Anglia maybe can't produce the numbers of cod they once did, but there are still good catches taken and big fish caught.’
      • ‘These good catches indicate that there are large numbers of fish passing through every day.’
      • ‘Most of the white fish boats continuing to fish herring with catches varying from good some days to poor other days.’
      • ‘Over the last 18 years trawlermen have been told to cut catches and limit days at sea, as efforts to conserve stocks have become more desperate.’
      haul, net, bag, take, yield, booty, prize
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3informal in singular A person considered desirable as a partner or spouse.
      ‘I mistakenly thought he would be a good catch’
      • ‘The Shopkeeper was aware that Carl would be considered a good catch for any girl in town.’
      • ‘All in all he just wasn't a particularly good catch.’
      • ‘She would be a particularly impressive catch.’
      • ‘If you focus on lifestyle issues, in other words, what you wear, where you live, how much of a catch your partner is, etc, you will turn the control of how you are judged over to other people.’
      • ‘That disgusting brute had actually been viewed as a decent catch for a local girl because, compared to his neighbours, he lived a good life.’
      • ‘Grant Delamont, the one catch that every girl dreamed of at Edamont High.’
      • ‘It is, in part, this ease that makes you a catch for potential partners.’
      eligible man, eligible woman, marriage prospect, match, suitable husband, suitable spouse, suitable wife
      View synonyms
  • 2mass noun A game in which a ball is thrown back and forth between two or more players.

    • ‘Foremost was that pitchers should throw every day, not throw hard, but just lob the ball and play catch to loosen up.’
    • ‘The game's so boring, they're summoning their dogs to have a pat or for a game of catch.’
    • ‘I can only hope that every boy can enjoy the bond with his father that is the game of catch.’
    • ‘The frenetic action and strategic nuances of this seven-a-side sport also make it feel a long way from a casual game of catch.’
    • ‘Rubber balls and Frisbees are always a treat for a game of catch.’
    • ‘Then the first boy pushed me, and I found myself in the middle of an improvised game of catch!’
    • ‘He wouldn't be able to hold Robert's hands again, to teach him to throw a ball, to play catch!’
    • ‘I smile and step over their toys, or dodge their plastic balls as they play catch.’
    • ‘I found the final rather involving, which given that rugby is in essence a game of catch taken extremely seriously is not bad going at all.’
    • ‘The students were led to believe that the players were other students playing a virtual game of catch.’
    • ‘In addition to having as simple or elaborate meal as you choose, you can bring along a Frisbee or ball to play catch.’
    • ‘After a few passes, we were bored of the age-old game of catch.’
    • ‘The boys went off to play catch with a football as we set up lunch and then waited for the fireworks to arrive.’
    • ‘Of course you can always bring along some baseball gloves and a ball for a game of catch.’
    • ‘Every now and then we'd pull ourselves from our lazy places in the sand to start up a game of catch with a foam football out in the waves.’
    • ‘They were playing catch, and each time either would throw the ball, the other would miss and then have to retrieve it.’
    • ‘Feeling bored and tired of waiting for the train to get going we play throw and catch with a ball.’
    • ‘Two of them had been playing a game of catch with their friends at the park.’
    • ‘They were playing catch with a new-found ball that Justin had lost months ago, all the while everybody else worked.’
    • ‘Others kick back on cots and read, while outside a football is tossed in a friendly game of catch.’
  • 3A device for securing something such as a door, window, or box.

    ‘the window catch was rusty’
    • ‘The catch snapped and the window released slightly.’
    • ‘Running her arms along the upper ridge of the crate, her fingers hit a catch in the wood, and immediately the door released.’
    • ‘An inquest held at Flax Bourton Coroner's Court in Bristol heard part of the window catch was broken, meaning it could be pushed open at any time.’
    • ‘Under the lip of the removable cushioned seat she had found a small catch, rusty enough to break two nails.’
    • ‘There's no catch securing the lid shut, but it's not as if notebooks suddenly flip open by themselves if they're not clasped down.’
    • ‘At present ventilation windows on carriages are secured by two catches spaced about a metre apart.’
    • ‘Mark and Rebecca stood, and the three of them hurried over to the windows, searching for levers or catches to pull them open.’
    • ‘I walked into school, went to my locker, and lifted up on the catch without spinning my combination.’
    • ‘Many new windows come with better locks and special catches that allow you to leave a window ajar without permitting a burglar to open it far enough to climb through.’
    • ‘Chris stepped on a catch and the floor slid away, causing both Jade and Chris to tumble down into the pit.’
    • ‘There weren't any zippers, buttons or catches he could find, so it was just a matter of trial and error.’
    • ‘He smiled at her, as she undid the catch, and opened the huge wooden door.’
    • ‘He tried to close the doors, but the catch was broken and light seeped in.’
    • ‘He tapped the bottom of the tool with his palm, and with a quick lift, the catch gave way and the burglar swung open the window.’
    • ‘Tonight's little jobs will be to get a catch put on the bathroom door because it doesn't stay shut and the cats keep tossing the soap in the bath.’
    • ‘He flicked the catch open and eased the door open a few inches.’
    • ‘Skillfully, she unlatched the catch and opened the door, allowing Edward and James to enter.’
    • ‘The hall was empty, and he pulled his head back and closed the door, sliding the chain from the catch.’
    • ‘After cleaning myself I noticed the window catch was off.’
    • ‘He will return in a week or so to fit steel bolt locks to all the windows, as it seems the brass catches are next to useless.’
    latch, lock, fastener, fastening, clasp, hasp, hook, bar, clip, bolt
    View synonyms
  • 4A hidden problem or disadvantage in an apparently ideal situation.

    ‘there's a catch in it somewhere’
    • ‘So, for the time being at least, Hurt is settled in theatre, the only catch being the 10 bananas he must eat each week in the line of duty as Krapp.’
    • ‘My eyes danced about the surface of the coupon, examining each word for hidden meaning, hidden catches, and hidden insight into life itself.’
    • ‘Jared was too methodical, never one to take action without looking out for the catch.’
    • ‘The catch, and there had to be one, is that taxpayers will have to pay back the full cost, with interest, over 30 years.’
    • ‘Just here, the beach is all yours… though there's one catch.’
    • ‘But it has a catch; not running correctly can result in painful cramps, sore muscles and maybe broken bones.’
    • ‘At The Bull Hotel on Tuesday, the programme makers reassured residents there were no hidden catches.’
    • ‘But if you already have a bunch of Xbox games, there is one little catch.’
    • ‘The girl looked up at her, too satisfied to care if there were any kind of hidden catches.’
    • ‘Then, to my horror, I discovered there was a catch: You could only use your copy of this font with a single printer!’
    • ‘Before you apply for any new savings account, check the terms and conditions for any catches or restrictions.’
    • ‘The project was today welcomed by teenage pregnancy support groups who said there ‘really is no catch.’’
    • ‘The catch is that contestants here, apparently not satisfied with simply voting someone off the island, actually try to kill one another.’
    • ‘The hidden catch here is that in this case, this rule was violated.’
    snag, disadvantage, drawback, stumbling block, hitch, fly in the ointment, joker in the pack, pitfall, complication, problem, hiccup, hindrance, difficulty, setback, hurdle, downside, minus
    View synonyms
  • 5in singular An unevenness in a person's voice caused by emotion.

    ‘there was a catch in Anne's voice’
    • ‘Her response was simple, but he heard the catch of her voice.’
    • ‘At other times, he gives his voice just the right catch to sell a subtle moment.’
    • ‘There was a catch in Alex's voice as he crushed Vivienne to him.’
    • ‘‘You can wake me up now,’ she said with a slight catch in her voice.’
    • ‘‘Gareth says it's nearly time for you to leave,’ she said with a catch in her voice.’
    • ‘Sherringham sounded only slightly winded, though there was a catch to his voice.’
    • ‘He praised the boat and his crew, a tiny catch in his voice when he spoke of her ending her naval life in the boat shed in Cairns.’
    • ‘Her father had told her, often with a catch in his voice, that her mother had died giving her birth.’
    • ‘Sinjun didn't fail to notice the slight catch in her voice.’
    • ‘The doctor even had a catch in the last word he spoke, and then he'd stopped speaking as Aaron saw the lump form in his throat.’
    • ‘There was a little catch in Brian's voice when he responded after a long silence.’
    • ‘The catch in her voice made him feel even worse for having to explain it again.’
    • ‘Despite his attempt at nonchalance, Jason noticed the catch in his voice immediately.’
    • ‘There was a catch in her voice, and Eric saw that she was fighting to keep from crying.’
    • ‘Karen told them in a scolding tone, but there was a catch in her voice.’
    • ‘But Jay heard the catch in her voice, and pulled away, searching her face.’
    • ‘She frowned slightly, but she had caught the catch in his voice and understood that this was not an issue she should press.’
    tremor, unevenness, shake, shakiness, quiver, quivering, wobble
    View synonyms
  • 6Music
    A round, typically one with words arranged to produce a humorous effect.

    • ‘The catch was one of the most popular forms of song from the mid-Sixteenth through the late-nineteenth centuries.’
    • ‘The best catches combine magnificent musical composition with intricate and inventive poetry.’
    • ‘The hidden words that popped out as the catch was sung were often comic or off-color.’
    • ‘A Catch or Round of the best type of Elizabethan times consisted of one melody, generally perfectly continuous.’
    • ‘The catch, a particular form of round based on word-play, was especially popular in Restoration England.’


  • catch someone's eye

    • 1Be noticed by someone.

      ‘a vase on a side table caught his eye’
      • ‘Her attention was swayed as a beautiful blue vase caught her eye.’
      • ‘But it was Jessica who caught their eye with her poise and confidence.’
      • ‘Nobody is going to pay attention to your online store unless something catches their eye.’
      • ‘It was the notice about the Italian Cookery School that caught my eye.’
      • ‘Even with all these people shouting and pushing and moving, only one thing caught Matthew 's eye: a small shop on the corner of a road across from where he was standing.’
      • ‘Hop on and off all day long, stopping to see the attractions that catch your eye.’
      • ‘In addition to his general argument I'd draw attention to two other stories that caught my eye.’
      • ‘Groups of people were browsing their way through the many beer tents trying whatever caught their eye.’
      • ‘How often have you bought a book you'd never heard of, just because it caught your eye in the bookshop?’
      • ‘I love restaurants that run out of things - it guarantees freshness and at the same time it dares you to return on a different day to savour the treat that first caught your eye.’
    • 2Attract someone's attention by making eye contact with them.

      ‘he caught Eva's eye and beckoned’
      • ‘My friend and I had a very attentive waiter who replenished our drinks as soon as we caught his eye.’
      • ‘He didn't even notice when she stopped and tried to catch his eye.’
      • ‘I caught Milton 's eye again, and he was grinning ear to ear.’
      • ‘I looked up to see what he was talking about and caught Tim 's eye.’
      • ‘She told officers she noticed him looking at her and when she caught his eye he immediately crossed the road, grabbed her by the arms and started trying to kick her legs from under her.’
      • ‘Floyd caught my eye for a moment and winked before turning his attention back to Katie.’
      • ‘I tried to catch his eye, but, although he noticed me, he seemed uninterested in even acknowledging me, let alone starting in conversation.’
      • ‘I looked at him hoping to catch his eye but he looked past me without really noticing.’
      • ‘When she caught his eye, she noticed his lip was trembling, trying to keep the tears in.’
      • ‘After a few minutes she noticed Mrs. Dobbs trying to catch her eye, and so she returned the glance.’
  • catch it

    • informal Be punished or told off.

      ‘I'll catch it if he finds me here’
      • ‘They bought the cheap labor mantra like it was religion and are now catching hell.’
      • ‘The next day I really caught it from my so called buddies about taking her to the dance.’
      • ‘It's because somewhere, they broke a rule they didn't know about and caught hell for it.’
      • ‘Dave already has caught hell, and lots of it.’
      • ‘Lately I've been spending too much time in your bars, coming home all hours of the morning and catching hell from my girlfriend.’
      • ‘Everything I did in life that was worthwhile I caught hell for.’
      • ‘I remember once going shopping for my Mum, and a friend asked me to get a jelly that her Mum had sent her for. Of course, I’d forgotten that it would be ticked off our rations! I really caught it for that.’
      • ‘Some state coordinators are still catching hell for the choices they made.’
      • ‘And when you're catching hell from both sides, as Brian indicated, you must be doing something right.’
      • ‘They ran out of trolleys that night, and I caught hell from Mr Norton.’
      be reprimanded, be scolded, be rebuked, be taken to task, be admonished, be chastised, be castigated, get into trouble, be hauled over the coals
      View synonyms
  • catch the light

    • Shine or glint in the light.

      ‘small gold hoop earrings caught the light as she turned her head’
      • ‘Try a healthy dose of illumination for your eyes with discreet, shimmery pigments that catch the light and radiate a heart-stopping, soft glow.’
      • ‘Its shimmering texture caught the light perfectly.’
      • ‘When she turned away, her earrings caught the light.’
      • ‘Her eyes are a piercing shade of light blue; when they catch the light, the effect is truly arresting.’
      • ‘A heavy frost has left the garden covered in a sparkling layer of white that catches the light as the sun comes through the clouds.’
      • ‘To play up the effect of the candle light, add some decorative items that will catch the light.’
      • ‘Her necklace caught the light and shimmered against her skin.’
      • ‘The crystals that hung form the chandeliers sparkled, almost with life, as they caught the light of each tiny flame, recasting it in a bright array of colors.’
      • ‘Our swords flashed through the air, catching the light.’
      • ‘Her spectacles caught the light from somewhere and glimmered under the straight blonde of her hair.’
      shine, glimmer, glint, catch the light, glitter, shimmer, glow, sparkle, twinkle, flicker, blink, wink, glisten, flash, flare, beam, fluoresce
      View synonyms
  • catch sight of

    • see sight
      • ‘Then he stopped short as he caught sight of David standing on his bottom step.’
      • ‘She opened her mouth to reply but first caught sight of my bedside clock.’
      • ‘Hoping to catch sight of him, she frequented performances of his plays.’
      • ‘He ran back to the group and Sarah caught sight of him.’
      • ‘She picked up a tray then caught sight of a familiar figure studying the food.’
      • ‘For the first time in ages I caught sight of The Independent.’
      • ‘On the second floor, walking passed a group of unruly grade eights, I caught sight of soft blonde hair.’
      • ‘She threw some cereal in her mouth then caught sight of the seriousness of the moment.’
      • ‘Kiara caught sight of a familiar face, turning in surprise to see Justin.’
      • ‘The Doctor catches sight of himself in the mirror.’
      • ‘I caught sight of an accident on my way to work today.’
      • ‘Looking around in the darkness, Kirby caught sight of someone moving in the trees at the opposite end of the beach.’
      • ‘Returning, I caught sight of a whitetip reef shark resting on the sand.’
      • ‘Fans and reporters scramble to catch sight of Jackson.’
      • ‘Catching sight of the black girls, she stared.’
      • ‘Instead, we caught sight of this stall selling all sorts of fried items.’
      • ‘Pixel narrowed her eyes and caught sight of the target.’
      • ‘Catching sight of herself in the warmly lit mirror, she pulled a face.’
      • ‘I was sitting here feeling very sorry for myself, when I caught sight of your photo.’
      • ‘Her eyes then caught sight of an empty milk carton.’
  • catch the sun

    • 1Be in a sunny position.

      ‘a glassed-in porch that caught the sun’
      • ‘Stairs lead to a large living/dining area, outside which a terrace looks over the sea and catches the sun until late afternoon.’
      • ‘In the afternoons, the garden often caught the sun, and on duller days the roses danced and bobbed in the breeze.’
      • ‘I shamelessly adapted the idea for an inner-city roof garden that never caught the sun by painting the concrete floor slabs with black and white stone paint.’
      • ‘From the outside, each has its own character - whether it be wide, sweeping steps up to the front door, an elegant, whitewashed garden chair placed to catch the sun, or palm-fronds waving in gravelled front plot.’
      • ‘Facing south and catching the sun, the large rear garden is secluded by conifers.’
      • ‘He chose this mountain due to its height (5700’ above sea level), the soft grainy consistency of the granite, and the fact that it catches the sun for the greatest part of the day.’
      • ‘The Irish Sea has never been balmy, but the sheltered bay in Port Erin caught the sun and meant many happy summers spent frisking in the sand.’
      • ‘There is a patio looking out over the beach that catches the sun, two TVs with cable channels, a well-stocked room bar and a walk-in closet with ironing board.’
      • ‘The bedrooms are in the first wing, pointing east to catch the sun as it rises in the morning and the other wings catch the sun later in the day.’
      • ‘The spa's plan was determined by orientation and the need to catch the sun.’
    • 2Become tanned or sunburned.

      • ‘I think that's perhaps when I caught the sun - and on the walk back home when it was on our backs and necks.’
      • ‘But on the bright side, I really caught the sun yesterday, so at least I don't look quite as horrible as I feel.’
      • ‘My face has turned the colour of a boiled lobster - the polite phrase that grandmothers use is ‘My oh my, you have caught the sun, haven't you?’’
      • ‘He strolled across the street, noting that Angela had certainly caught the sun.’
      • ‘‘Oh you've really caught the sun,’ she said, all womanly and concerned.’
  • you wouldn't catch — doing something

    • informal Used to indicate that there is no possibility of the person mentioned doing what is specified.

      ‘you wouldn't catch me walking back to the house alone at night’
      • ‘Well, you wouldn't catch me behind the stick of one of those things.’
      • ‘I can assure you, though, that you wouldn't catch me sitting on a dock of a bay this particular shade of rust.’
      • ‘But you wouldn't catch me staring into his eyes.’
      • ‘Usually you wouldn't catch me dead at a movie with such a female perspective, but as I've seen the original, I thought I would give the ‘frumpy’ Bridget another shot.’
      • ‘While you wouldn't catch me, or I'd imagine, most sane people, driving a vehicle out onto a frozen lake, it's fun to watch the people ice fishing, being pulled on skis or just taking a leisurely stroll.’
      • ‘Oh no, you wouldn't catch me doing that, guv'nor…’
      • ‘I've had a lot of fun with terms that are too intricate to vocalize myself, but you wouldn't catch me announcing such an unfortunate phrase in public.’
      • ‘I wonder if the people look down on us queuing up and laugh, thinking you wouldn't catch me in a car.’
      • ‘Nowadays you wouldn't catch me in the sea without at least a wetsuit, if not a drysuit.’
      • ‘Goodness me, you wouldn't catch me out there in the early mornings with hair in curlers and a shovel under my arm.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • catch on

    • 1(of a practice or fashion) become popular.

      ‘the idea of linking pay to performance has caught on’
      • ‘But there are others who vouch for the success, saying the trend has really caught on.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the idea doesn't seem to be catching on very fast.’
      • ‘Despite its worldwide popularity golf has never caught on in big way in St Lucia.’
      • ‘Were you always confident that the idea of having choral groups in the community and performing would catch on the way it has?’
      • ‘If the practice catches on, however, I would like to see it broadened to include more misunderstood groups.’
      • ‘Vinyl fencing is a relatively new product, but is catching on fast.’
      • ‘Australia's geographic isolation plays a big part in why the practice has caught on.’
      • ‘It was not until 1900 that soccer became popular in France, catching on in the industrial towns of northern France, but the average gate rarely rose above a thousand.’
      • ‘Halloween's still an American tradition though catching on here fast.’
      • ‘Christmas markets are popular in Europe and have recently begun to catch on in Britain’
      become popular, take off, become fashionable, come into fashion, come into vogue, boom, flourish, thrive
      View synonyms
    • 2Understand what is meant or how to do something.

      ‘I caught on to what it was the guy was saying’
      • ‘It takes him forever to catch on to the game, and even when he finally understands he still takes no action.’
      • ‘He's exceptionally smart; he catches on very quickly, and is already learning how to read.’
      • ‘He bent his head down and began kissing my neck and I finally caught on to what he was about to do.’
      • ‘Australian's are getting much better at dancing to our music, they're catching on.’
      • ‘Yet his principles did not let him stay in Berlin once the censors caught on to his tricks.’
      • ‘Although I must admit, you catch on faster than anyone I have ever known.’
      • ‘Kyle nodded slowly, catching my gaze to see if I'd caught on to the line of questioning.’
      • ‘The employee now figures it was a ruse to see if they had caught on to his scheme.’
      • ‘Taylor came into the conversation late but quickly caught on to the discussion.’
      • ‘Maybe this is a case where Hollywood has actually caught on to the value of free content.’
      understand, comprehend, learn, realize
      View synonyms
      1. 2.1Irish Become aware of something.
        ‘catch yourself on, Michael, people don't get arrested for no reason’
        • ‘Jimmy Joe, catch yourself on, are you saying you should only support a team when they're winning?’
        • ‘Catch yourself on, will you, Kathleen?’
        • ‘When you're older you catch yourself on, you just aren't so bothered about fighting.’
        • ‘Whoever wrote this, catch yourself on please.’
        • ‘Catch yourself on, you're going to either end up dead or in jail.’
  • catch someone out

    • 1Detect that someone has done something wrong or made a mistake.

      ‘his tone suggested he'd caught her out in some misdemeanour’
      • ‘I only say this because I have been caught out being naive before, and mistaken what I thought was this amazing connection that actually eventuated into, well disaster.’
      • ‘The Government was caught out and exposed, but time and time again we are seeing this Government exercising duplicity in the messages it delivers to New Zealanders.’
      • ‘Former Manchester United ace Lee Martin was caught out as a benefit cheat while working for the club as a TV pundit.’
      • ‘His biggest regret seems to be that he was caught out, not that he did wrong.’
      • ‘John snaps, convinced he's caught me out in a lie.’
      • ‘But interestingly, before this was actually arranged, the situation was clarified because his drug use escalated, and he was caught out at work.’
      • ‘Silence filled the room and she knew she had caught him out.’
      • ‘They don't have the balls to admit that they were caught out, so they attack and lie and prevaricate and do everything to shuffle out from under it.’
      • ‘When Georgia let it slip about that book they're publishing we saw a chance to catch him out and I volunteered to go undercover.’
      • ‘A couple of weeks ago in the US, the singer was caught out miming to the wrong song.’
      discover, detect, find, come across, come upon, stumble on, chance on, light on, bring to light, turn up, expose, find out, unmask
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Put someone in a difficult situation for which they are unprepared.
        ‘you might get caught out by the weather’
        • ‘The stages are very varied, with slow and quick portions and no particular surprises to catch you out, and that's a good thing.’
        • ‘It's a favourite trick companies use to catch you out - your monthly payments are put towards the original transferred debt while your new spending goes to the back of the queue collecting interest until it reaches the front.’
        • ‘The going was quite easy apart from the odd deep pot that that catches you out by surprise.’
        • ‘That might not strike you as too difficult, but the final part will surely catch you out.’
        • ‘There was a bigger sensation in store in the 66th minute, with Liverpool running out of ideas, they were caught out by a long ball.’
        • ‘The bite point on a new clutch caught me out today, and I stalled on the green flag lap.’
        • ‘Just two miles into the first stage of the day they were caught out by the slippery conditions and slid off the road.’
        • ‘Unfortunately as it happened at Castle Combe a week earlier, qualifying didn't go the youngster's way and in both sessions he was caught out by the session being prematurely ended due to incidents involving other cars.’
        • ‘Unfortunately, we were caught out by gearbox problems.’
        • ‘Although he was surprised he was not caught out.’
        take by surprise, catch unawares, catch off guard, catch red-handed, catch in the act, catch napping, catch out, burst in on, catch someone with their pants down, catch someone with their trousers down, catch in flagrante delicto
        View synonyms
    • 2Cricket
      Dismiss a batsman by catching the ball before it touches the ground.

      • ‘Australia's Simon Katich is caught out by England's Marcus Trescothick.’
      • ‘Opening the second innings the batsman was caught out for a duck.’
      • ‘Or more tantalisingly, had they justly been given an earlier crack at the Australian middle order after catching Ponting out early in his innings only to see the delivery wrongfully ruled a no-ball.’
      • ‘After 75 minutes Blanc just managed to nick a ball away from Basturk as he waited to strike, but the ball came flashing back in and caught Nicky Butt out.’
  • catch up

    • 1Succeed in reaching a person who is ahead of one.

      ‘he stopped and waited for Lily to catch up’
      • ‘Pocketing the object, he ran ahead to catch up with his friend.’
      • ‘The poet hurried to catch up, and when he reached the river, he too stopped and looked around.’
      • ‘He picked up his speed, not even thinking as far ahead to what he would do if he did catch up with her, he just wanted to get to her.’
      • ‘She broke into a jog, trying to catch up to him before he reached the next piazza a hundred metres down.’
      • ‘David nodded and they both ran on to ahead to catch up with the man.’
      • ‘The lorry had caught up with her by the time she'd reached the junction to cross the road.’
      • ‘They quickly ran forward and caught up with him as he reached the door.’
      • ‘Police radioed ahead and caught up with the gang as they passed the highway patrol office.’
      • ‘I caught up with them, overtook them and stood blocking their path.’
      • ‘She kept going further ahead and then turning to wait for them to catch up, as Matthew couldn't move very fast.’
      draw level, draw level with
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Do tasks which one should have done earlier.
        ‘he normally used the afternoons to catch up on paperwork’
        • ‘Public holidays are when I catch up on household chores and visit my ailing parents.’
        • ‘I really have to catch up on my email, you know what it's like when you're out of the office for a few days.’
        • ‘The justices added he would not be tagged the days he was at college and that meant he would have plenty of time at home to catch up on his work.’
        • ‘Oh, and there's a backlog of domestic and business stuff to catch up on.’
        • ‘It's amazing how much I have to catch up on considering I've been absent for such a short time.’
        • ‘I sat down after dinner to catch up on correspondence but found my eyes drooping almost immediately.’
        • ‘Monday saw me back at work; I hit the ground running as there was quite a bit to catch up on.’
        • ‘I like having the place to myself, though I have a bunch of housework to catch up on.’
        • ‘I am never on top of my work and forever trying to catch up on paper work.’
        • ‘Work is settling down though I still have quite a few things to catch up on after the trip.’
  • catch up with

    • 1Succeed in reaching a person who is ahead of one.

      ‘you go with Stasia and Katie, and I'll catch up with you’
      • ‘He started peddling faster, and within seconds caught up with her, and passed her.’
      • ‘She managed to catch up with him and grab the bike, then began calling out for help.’
      • ‘The twins had caught up with their younger sister, and both of them began to speak at once.’
      • ‘They had actually reached the car when he caught up with them.’
      • ‘He flashed a smile when Matt caught up with him and began walking again.’
      • ‘I felt myself begin to quicken my pace to catch up with my boyfriend.’
      • ‘There were policemen running after him, but it was clear just by the photo that they had no chance of catching up with them.’
      • ‘As I began to catch up with him I shouted to a passer by to help me stop him, which he did.’
      • ‘So I started to cycle as fast as I could and soon began to catch up with the other cyclists.’
      • ‘I shook my head slightly at those thoughts and jogged a little faster, catching up with Matt and Liz ahead.’
    • 2Talk to (someone) whom one has not seen for some time in order to find out what they have been doing.

      ‘it's a chance to catch up with old friends’
      • ‘Pat said the evening was a chance to catch up with old friends and was thoroughly enjoyable.’
      • ‘Like all these things, it was a good chance to catch up with old friends!’
      • ‘Last month I had a chance to catch up with Matt and discuss the book.’
      • ‘Two female former schoolmates whom I caught up with two weeks ago also found themselves single recently.’
      • ‘Still, it was great to catch up with so many old friends and workmates.’
      • ‘Communal meals in the dining hall allow you a chance to catch up with friends and make new ones.’
      • ‘I must admit I was mostly pleased to not be at work and to have the chance to catch up with a few people.’
      • ‘After breakfast I went into our Canberra office and caught up with some old colleagues which was strangely reassuring.’
      • ‘It was great having a chance to catch up with you over lunch today.’
      • ‘It was great to get the chance to catch up with each other.’
    • 3Begin to have a damaging effect on.

      ‘the physical exertions began to catch up with Sue’
      • ‘All these days and nights without sleep were beginning to catch up with him.’
      • ‘As my body began to warm up and relax, exhaustion caught up with me and I drifted in and out of a feverish half-sleep.’
      • ‘My patient's unhealthy lifestyle began to catch up with him peripheral vascular disease, a stroke, and then angina.’
      • ‘She tried to keep her eyes open but the sleepless day was beginning to catch up with her.’
      • ‘As time passes and the booze catches up with her, she dozes off.’
      • ‘Vinnie Roe is a wonderfully brave horse but old age is catching up with him.’
      • ‘They began sparring again, but Kristy soon found that her lack of proper amounts of sleep was beginning to catch up with her.’
      • ‘Eventually his legion of injuries began to catch up with him.’
      • ‘The cracks in their marriage begin to show when Tom's sinister past catches up with him and the pair set off an escalating spiral of suspicion, greed and betrayal.’
      • ‘They were forced to move out of their home, in the upmarket Morningside area of Edinburgh, and into care when old age caught up with them.’
  • catch someone up

    • 1Succeed in reaching a person who is ahead of one.

      ‘you go with Tess and I'll catch you up’
      • ‘A submarine could barely make half this speed - hence the tactic of sailing ahead and anticipating the surface fleet catching you up.’
      • ‘‘Whoops, forgot about the slowpoke guys,’ Esmée teased, ‘We'll catch you up, you go ahead and get tickets and such.’’
      • ‘In a third of the time he's already caught me up and in the next few weeks he will zoom ahead.’
    • 2Become involved in (something that one had not intended to become involved in)

      ‘he had no desire to be caught up in political activities’
      • ‘The holiday season is upon us and there's no reason to get caught up in all the madness that is mall shopping.’
      • ‘The first lap of today's race was quite dramatic and it was very important to me to avoid getting caught up in that.’
      • ‘The Christmas shopping phenomena has begun and I really do not want to get caught up in that again.’
      • ‘What if, like so many others, I was caught up in this terrible tangle of lives that led nowhere?’
      • ‘Any of us could have been in the shops on the street on Friday and been caught up in what happened.’
      • ‘My Uncle Victor got caught up in the civil war in Nicaragua whilst on a cycling tour of Central America.’
      • ‘Did I intend to get caught up in some weird drama with a bunch of people I don't know?’
      • ‘Let's just watch wrestling and stop getting caught up in all this debate!’
      • ‘There are some things that you got caught up in then that you might have regrets about now.’
      • ‘Why do so many investors get caught up in small speculative companies?’
  • catch something up

    • Pick something up hurriedly.

      ‘she caught up her jacket and bag and walked to the door’
      • ‘He strode down the hall and descended the stairs two at a time, catching up his overcoat.’
      • ‘He stood silently as she caught up the gym bag which, he knew, held her regular clothes and the books she would be taking home with her.’
      • ‘Before security realised the danger, this man caught up the weapon and ran through Government Buildings until he reached the offices of the Department of Finance.’
      • ‘She caught up her skirts and moved closer.’
      • ‘He caught up his bag and ran towards her.’


Middle English (also in the sense ‘chase’): from Anglo-Norman French and Old Northern French cachier, variant of Old French chacier, based on Latin captare ‘try to catch’, from capere ‘take’.