Definition of catch in English:



  • 1Intercept and hold (something that 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.’
    • ‘He quickly dropped the knife and caught the blood in his palm before it could drip onto the coverlet.’
    • ‘He jumped up, just barely catching the baseball thrown by his father.’
    • ‘Spread newspaper everywhere to catch the drops and make sure your room is well-ventilated.’
    • ‘She spins around like a little girl with her tongue sticking out to catch the drops.’
    • ‘Cover the ground with canvas drop cloths to catch the paint chips.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Try as Emilion might, he could not teach me to throw and catch the pesky things properly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Two people went up each tree while the third person ran around below with the backpack, trying to catch the fruit they dropped down.’
    • ‘Her tongue darted out faster than humanly possible, catching a drop on the tip.’
    • ‘She snatched up her shirt and boombox, rubbing the back of her hand over her forehead, catching the sweat drops before they fell.’
    • ‘Every time there's even a semblance of running water, we put something under the faucet to catch the precious drops.’
    • ‘A childish glee overtook her, and she put out her tongue to catch the falling rain drops.’
    • ‘There were always pots across one wall of her sitting room to catch the drops.’
    • ‘The guard dropped his rifle to catch the incoming equipment.’
    • ‘Brooke hurried over, and made it in time to slip a paper towel under his nose to catch the first few drops of blood.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He tossed both knives into the air and caught them before dropping into a crouch like his brother.’
    • ‘His head was tilted back, his hands splayed out as if to catch drops from a leaking firmament.’
    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. 1.1Intercept the fall of (someone)
      • ‘He was too far away to catch her before she fell, her head hitting the cement.’
      • ‘William caught her before she fell, holding her in the fold of his left arm.’
      • ‘The bouncer steps toward her, his arms ready to catch her should she fall.’
      • ‘Matt grabbed her quickly, catching her before she fell off the bed.’
      • ‘He lowered himself while Jason stood just below him to catch him if he fell.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The two stumbled and Joanne would have fallen but Mark caught her in mid-fall.’
      • ‘Thankfully, Sam is around almost all the time, keeping an eye on me, ready to catch me when I fall.’
      • ‘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 rushed forward towards the princess and caught her as she fell from her horse.’
      • ‘Her first reaction was to run over there, and catch Jackie before she fell, but Jason beat her to it.’
      • ‘Andrew yelled as he ran to catch her before she fell to the deck.’
      • ‘As she pitched forward, about to fall, someone caught her by her upper arms.’
      • ‘Luckily, someone from behind caught her before she fell back onto the parking lot floor.’
      • ‘He caught her before she could hit the ground.’
      • ‘Her knees buckled under her and I caught her before she fell face down.’
      • ‘A wave of dizziness washed over her as she stood up, she was about to fall but strong arms caught her before she did.’
      • ‘Her legs grow weak underneath her and she almost falls but he catches her.’
      • ‘She fell, but he caught her in his arms, and laid her gently on the floor.’
      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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    2. 1.2Seize or take hold of.
      ‘he caught hold of her arm as she tried to push past him’
      • ‘Leo caught hold of my arm and motioned to me that the coast was clear.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 thought my worst fears had come true when someone just caught hold of my hand.’
      • ‘At the top of your pull, quickly drop under and catch the bar with your arms extended overhead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He reached up and caught my chin gently with his hand, turning me to face him.’
      • ‘The horse whinnied when Arnold caught hold of its bridle, rearing up on its hind legs.’
      • ‘You step back and Michael reaches out, catching the hem of your t-shirt in his hand.’
      • ‘Jack caught hold of her arm and pulled her back to stand in front of him.’
      • ‘The first three times I permitted it, but on the fourth I reached down and caught his hand.’
      • ‘She reached over and caught his hand in hers, rubbing a thumb over the back of his palm.’
      • ‘She stood up but he caught hold of her arm before she walked away.’
      • ‘But, he caught her arm and reached in his drawer in his nightstand and pulled out a syringe.’
      • ‘I was about to turn and walk back to the pack when Mac reached out and caught my arm.’
      • ‘She caught hold of the boy's collar and dragged him, pushing him into his bed.’
      • ‘As we drove past, he caught hold of her hair and began pulling, even as her screams mingled with the loud music.’
      • ‘I should have let her go like that, but something beyond me made me reach out and catch her arm.’
      • ‘He caught hold of her frantically fluttering hands and forced her to stay still and look at him.’
      • ‘As Mary led him to where her SUV was parked, he reached out and caught her hand in his.’
      • ‘With a little smile, she made a little jump and caught hold of the end of the branch that was nearest the floor.’
      • ‘John used this time to free himself from the hold and he caught hold of the man breaking his attacker's wrist.’
      • ‘When they would have parted at the top of the stairs, Sam caught hold of her hand, stopping her.’
      • ‘As they swung back towards Evie's bar for the second time, she caught hold of it, and the boy released her.’
      • ‘Halfway down, he caught hold of a branch and then scaled his way back to where his sentry post once was.’
      • ‘She swung it at Shouma's face, but he caught her hand and threw it back at her.’
      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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    3. 1.3[no object]Grasp or try to grasp.
      ‘his hands caught at her arms as she tried to turn away’
      • ‘She hurried up the steps behind him and caught at his sleeve to get his attention.’
      • ‘Automatically, his own hands rose to catch at his master's arm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As he made to move off in search of new bandages, she weakly caught at his 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
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  • 2Capture (a person or animal that tries or would try to escape)

    ‘we hadn't caught a single rabbit’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It always seemed to me that it was pretty rare for the hunt actually to catch a fox.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We arrived back at the Inn late that afternoon without having caught a single fish.’
    • ‘Anybody can get lucky and catch a single fish that's worth a prize.’
    • ‘Government workers tried to catch the creature by laying cages and shooting it with tranquilliser darts, but they failed.’
    • ‘We never made any secret of the fact that we used dogs to catch rabbits.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘The easiest time of the year to catch rabbit is winter.’
    • ‘When the rabbit season comes, we hunt and catch a few rabbits.’
    • ‘It was the fourth largest rainbow trout caught at the venue since 1979.’
    • ‘The Welsh terrier is a rough-coated animal with droopy ears, originally bred in Wales to catch rats, mice and other vermin.’
    • ‘Traps of this kind, which are designed to catch foxes and rabbits, have been outlawed since 1954 when the Pest Act came into force.’
    • ‘So far it had caught four mice, which he was certain were all different ones, rather than being the same one returning each time.’
    • ‘The culprit was quickly caught and thrown into a maximum security holding cell.’
    • ‘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.’
    capture, seize
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    1. 2.1Surprise (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.’
      • ‘He repressed an urge to call for help, realizing how it would look if anyone caught him in this situation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In August 2001 he was caught at the wheel of his car while more than three times over the legal limit.’
      • ‘She was caught by our photographer dropping bags of bread for the birds near the town bridge.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But boy were we wrong when we caught him last night in a hot new nightclub in town getting down and dirty.’
      • ‘Do not be taken by surprise if you are caught for speeding or riding without helmets this week.’
      • ‘Unless we catch them throwing a bottle or dropping litter all we can do is ask them to leave.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the exercise continues as the police do not want to be caught napping.’
      • ‘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.’
      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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    2. 2.2(of a person) unexpectedly find oneself in (an unwelcome situation)
      ‘my sister was caught in a thunderstorm’
      • ‘My last day there, we were caught in the middle of some ugliness on that bridge.’
      • ‘In his hands, Javier develops into a sympathetic character who is caught in the middle of an impossible situation.’
      • ‘Speaking yesterday, Mr Ferguson said the law needed to be changed before anyone else was caught in the same situation.’
      • ‘My cheeks prickled with heat at the embarrassing circumstances we were caught in.’
      • ‘The spectators quickly made an exit, not wishing to be caught in crossfire.’
      • ‘An hour later we were caught in a terrific thunder storm - lightning, torrential rain, the works.’
      • ‘If it were a fair world, the latter type would never be caught in a situation where things go horribly wrong.’
      • ‘But as we were riding through a desert, to make things even more challenging, we were caught in a sandstorm.’
      • ‘We'd later learned they were caught in the traffic jam on the return trip.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'm finally free of the round of writing and commissioning I've been caught in for the last fortnight.’
      • ‘The Chinese migrants drowned in February when they were caught in fast-rising tides on the sands of Morecambe Bay.’
      • ‘They were catching fewer and fewer fish, and often they were caught in storms at sea.’
      • ‘You should never be caught in a situation where junk food is your only option.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘But there was always the danger that he would be caught in situations he could not easily explain.’
      • ‘A group of young, wealthy people are out for a cruise on a pleasure yacht when they are caught unexpectedly in a major storm.’
      • ‘So, the president really seems to be caught in a Catch 22 here and it's largely of his own making.’
      • ‘Would taxpayers have relief when faced with the situation of being caught in circumstances beyond their control?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the trio were caught in heavy swells near Mayor Island late on Sunday night on the last leg of their return.’
    3. 2.3Come upon (someone) unexpectedly.
      ‘unexpected snow caught us 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.’
      • ‘Once she was right behind him she jumped on his back and caught him completely by surprise.’
      • ‘The situation had caught her so off guard that she had no idea how to approach it.’
      • ‘Timms' move was so sudden, so unexpected, that it caught the woman completely by surprise.’
      • ‘We've all been so worried about peak oil, it is not surprising we were caught unawares.’
      • ‘On Monday an early morning call from our ace reporter Adam Nichols caught him by surprise.’
      • ‘I am afraid if we wait any longer, the fall rains will catch us.’
      • ‘If he caught you at the wrong time, he could talk your ear off.’
      • ‘The cleric thinking he had done all he could do, was then caught off guard.’
      • ‘When the bad weather hit I was caught completely by surprise.’
      • ‘The unexpected attack caught him off guard and he landed on the porch with a thud.’
      • ‘He is again caught by surprise and the two topple over.’
      • ‘Intelligence authorities resolved that the United States should never again be caught unprepared.’
      • ‘An unseasonably early and severe storm caught several climbers by surprise in the Sierra Nevada.’
      • ‘The bike was powerful - far more so than he had expected - and the unexpected force caught him off guard.’
      • ‘Kenny draws blood from him but is then caught off guard.’
      • ‘He stood staring at her, almost as though her entrance had caught him by surprise.’
      • ‘There is little doubt that Stephen was caught by surprise.’
      • ‘US military and civilian leaders were again caught by surprise, and another costly price was paid in American casualties.’
      • ‘The theatrical techniques adopted by the troupe caught the audience by surprise.’
  • 3[no object] (of an object) accidentally become entangled or trapped in something.

    ‘the charm bracelet always caught on her clothing’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘The hem of her pants caught under her shoes and she toppled toward, taking the boy with her.’
    • ‘Her dress caught under her chair.’
    • ‘Just then his pants caught on a nail that was sticking out from the roof, and the nail stopped his fall.’
    entangle, snarl, entwine, intertwine, intertwist, twist, ravel, knot, enmesh, coil, mat, jumble, muddle
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    1. 3.1[with object](of a person) 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’
      • ‘I climbed out of the carriage after Amari, who was carefully making sure she didn't catch her dress on the carriage door.’
      • ‘On New Year's Eve, a woman caught her hair in an escalator.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Danny had just caught his shirt and a bit of the skin underneath on some barbed wire.’
      • ‘He backed away, catching his long hair in the bush behind him as he did so.’
      • ‘Stumbling out, Steven catches his watch in a woman's hair.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She shifted her legs, being careful not to catch her trousers on the seat edge and sniffed the air delicately.’
      • ‘I slipped the camera under first, but still managed to catch my shirt on the lock above.’
      • ‘She got up, careful not to catch the lab coat that Kate had lent her on the chair.’
      • ‘She chased him through the security gates and nearly caught her flowing skirt in the elevator.’
      • ‘He caught his right foot in a drain, his knee shredded, never to be the same.’
      become trapped, become stuck, stick, become wedged, become entangled, become snarled up, become snagged, snag
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    2. 3.2[with object]Fix or fasten in place.
      ‘her hair was caught back in a scrunchie’
      • ‘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.’
  • 4Reach in time and board (a train, bus, or aircraft)

    ‘they caught the 12:15 from Chicago’
    • ‘They stayed overnight in London and the next day caught another train to Brighton for their week-long honeymoon.’
    • ‘Your mother and I caught a bus from the airport last time.’
    • ‘At the end of that week, Pip drops Herbert off to catch his ship to Cairo.’
    • ‘Police also want to speak to three men who caught a train about 8.40 pm and were overheard talking about the incident.’
    • ‘Mr North now has to catch a bus and a train to get to work which takes him two hours.’
    • ‘I alighted from the train at Huddersfield and caught a bus to New Mill.’
    • ‘It is not as if you can catch a bus or train, or hail a cab to go anywhere.’
    • ‘Back in London he caught a train from King's Cross to York.’
    • ‘Older people don't all have cars and must cross the road to catch the bus.’
    • ‘I caught the train and it was really nice to just sit back and read.’
    • ‘The next morning I caught a bus to east Leeds and walked about.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Then I had to catch a bus, then a train, and walk quite a way to the house.’
    • ‘I only just catch my train, quickly jump on the first carriage, and bury myself in my morning paper.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Passengers would be able to spend time in the city before booking in and catching a new secure rail service to their flight.’
    • ‘One couple from Malton said they could catch the train from home and that the bus simply did not offer enough comfort.’
    • ‘The group stayed on that boat for several hours, then unexpectedly disembarked and caught a later boat.’
    • ‘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.’
    be in time for, reach in time, make, get to
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    1. 4.1Reach or be in a place in time to see (a person, performance, program, etc.)
      ‘she was hurrying downstairs to catch the news’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You can now stop following scores on the Internet after lunch and rushing home from work to catch the final session on TV.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've just caught the end of a brief TV programme about Sonia Lo, co-founder of A Recipe for Peace.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was one of these in Seattle that I only caught the tail end of because I was working.’
      • ‘Just this morning I caught the tail end of yet another appeal on behalf of a young child in desperate need of surgery abroad.’
      • ‘Fans of Chorley artist Tom Titherington can still catch his exhibition of his memories of the Second World War at the University of Liverpool.’
      • ‘I wandered out of the foyer, just catching the start of the next interaction at the reception desk.’
      • ‘There is still time to catch an exhibition of beautiful and practical baskets and intriguing paper imprints at Brantwood's Severn Studio.’
      • ‘We've arrived just in time to catch the end of Feast Week, a festival of which I still know very little.’
      • ‘I was then just in time to catch the final episode of The Office.’
      • ‘I made it in time to catch the end of the women's three-metre springboard event.’
      • ‘I worked another 12 hour shift on Sunday, getting home in time to catch the tail end of the Oscars.’
      • ‘And if you're lucky, you might just catch the end of the sales.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you get a chance - like, you're at home during the day, or babysitting, or a student, or something - catch an episode.’
      • ‘I had caught the tail end of his performance - enough to give me but a small idea of the man.’
      • ‘On the upside, I think I'll get to catch an episode of Sports Night.’
  • 5Engage (a person's interest or imagination)

    • ‘But they soon caught the public imagination, in Yorkshire more than most places.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Having caught your attention and thrown you back in time, he shows you something worth watching.’
    • ‘To catch students' interest and to highlight the importance of recycling a competition is being held over the next four weeks.’
    • ‘I hope this scheme will catch the imagination of the public and we shall be exploring the opportunities for investment from the private sector.’
    • ‘It is clear at this stage that the song has a universal appeal, catching the imagination of young and old alike.’
    • ‘There were other topics that caught my interest.’
    • ‘American modernism, full of exiles and immigrants, caught his attention early.’
    • ‘I have quite an eye for fashionable clothing and this garment caught my attention immediately.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If Egan had simply made this argument and then left town, his lobbying effort might not have caught my notice.’
    • ‘The idea has caught the imagination of the national media and it is hoped more information will be available next week.’
    • ‘She browsed through her entries for a long time, before finding something that caught her interest.’
    • ‘Consequently, house prices would need to drop very significantly to catch my attention.’
    • ‘Her red hair caught his attention first, and then it was those icy blue eyes.’
    • ‘He was just walking through the library, not looking for anything in particular, when he comes upon a book that catches his attention.’
    • ‘Again I was lost in a daze, staring at the boy who had caught my attention earlier.’
    • ‘Something about her caught my imagination, not beauty in the traditional sense but some unknown quality.’
    • ‘The scheme has already caught the imagination and interest of local school children.’
    • ‘The next venture was a jumble-sale which caught the imagination of so many and began the fund-raising in earnest.’
    engage, capture, attract, draw, gain, grab, arrest, seize, hold, win, absorb, engross, rivet, grip, captivate, bewitch
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    1. 5.1Perceive fleetingly.
      ‘she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror’
      • ‘Glancing over his shoulder, he caught a glimpse of her on her cell phone.’
      • ‘A good hour passes before we reach Skull Island and catch a glimpse of the mighty Kong.’
      • ‘I looked up and caught sight of Kenny throwing his black backpack on the table.’
      • ‘As he walked to the showers he caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror.’
      • ‘This time she caught a glimpse of his slim figure but she still could not see his face.’
      • ‘I caught a glimpse of a clock and it read about two ten in the morning.’
      • ‘The customer smiled back and then I caught sight of Aidan reaching with his hand toward the lowest shelf.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He even caught a glimpse of some movement out of the corner of his eye.’
      • ‘Elly turned to Jade's companion, her jaw dropping as she caught sight of the strange menagerie.’
      • ‘Hurriedly pulling a comb through his dark hair, he caught his image in a mirror.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My already sad heart dropped when I caught sight of the peeling piece of wood that read New Hope Ranch.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I still recall one Sunday morning when I caught a glimpse of them outside.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Is this a sight from heaven or what: catching a glimpse of her is enough to make you reach for the blood-pressure tablets.’
      • ‘At first she could see nothing, but then caught a glimpse of something black trying to hide from her behind a branch.’
      • ‘My upper body wavered precariously and my eyes watered as I caught sight of the drop below.’
      • ‘The shopkeeper could have caught a glimpse of the plastic bags.’
      perceive, notice, observe, discern, detect, note, become aware of, make out, spot, see
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    2. 5.2Hear or understand (something said), especially with effort.
      ‘he bellowed something Jess couldn't catch’
      • ‘I had to raise and lower the volume more than once to catch what had just been said.’
      • ‘The few words that Neesha did catch were too jumbled up to understand.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Our hyper friendly waiter must have caught the drift of our chatter about geese and pigs, and soon joined in.’
      • ‘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.’
      hear, perceive, recognize, discern, make out
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    3. 5.3Succeed in evoking or representing.
      ‘the program caught something of the flavor of Minoan culture’
      • ‘His mastery was in describing exciting events and in catching the flavor of the moment.’
      • ‘He explores the space, catches its relationship and represents it in various forms.’
      • ‘It really catches the feel of Dave's work.’
      evoke, conjure up, suggest, summon up, call to mind, recall, express, reproduce, represent, show, encapsulate, capture, record
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  • 6 Strike (someone) on a part of the body.

    ‘Ben caught him on the chin with an uppercut’
    • ‘The blow caught Philip in the back and sent him flying onto his stomach.’
    • ‘She just barely dodged a more deadly blow that only caught her in the chest cutting open her shirt and cutting her skin.’
    • ‘He evaded the blow quite easily and caught Steve in the mouth with his left fist.’
    • ‘The blow that caught me around the ears knocked me to the floor.’
    • ‘The informant's blow caught him full force in the chest causing him to curse into the gag.’
    • ‘Peter swung around, and the flat of his knife caught her a glancing blow on the side of the head.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Warner lunged, but Walters moved aside, catching Warner a glancing blow with a fist to the side of his head.’
    • ‘Eric spun around to block the blow but was caught from the side by the killer's fist.’
    • ‘A few heavy blows caught me bruisingly in the face, and I quickly let go of the creature.’
    • ‘The blow caught him heavily in the chest and he started to slump.’
    • ‘The stinging blow caught the youth across the head, sending him stumbling to the side.’
    • ‘The perspex side caught me a nasty blow (as they say) on the forehead and the forearm.’
    • ‘He saw Derryn's fatigue and struck out quickly, catching Derryn across his ribs with his blade.’
    • ‘Sally stumbled backward as a second blow caught her in the forehead.’
    hit, strike, slap, smack, crack, bang, connect with, contact
    View synonyms
    1. 6.1Accidentally strike (a part of one's body) against something.
      ‘she fell and caught her head on the corner of the hearth’
      • ‘I pictured a back-handed blow, a woman slumping, catching her head on a hard surface.’
      • ‘On a mountain bike, you have to have narrow bars or you'll catch yourself on a tree.’
      • ‘As he fell he caught his head on the edge of the bay dock leveller.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I caught my leg on the corner of a little metal bench and I really started to bleed.’
  • 7Contract (an illness) through infection or contagion.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This can help symptoms, but patients are at risk from catching pneumonia or developing an air leak where the lung is re-sealed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The 72-year-old, who suffers from asthma, caught pneumonia while at the hospital.’
    • ‘He caught scarlet fever when he was a young child and this affected his hearing.’
    • ‘Her daughter then caught a fever that carried her off within twenty-four hours.’
    • ‘At this time it is not clear if the female nurse caught the disease from the patient, or through other sources.’
    • ‘And during a disease outbreak, a number of vaccinated people will indeed catch the disease.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At the time there were about one billion people in the world and about half of those caught this illness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At the age of 28, she caught a tropical fever from her patients and died.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A child with TB may have to stay in the hospital so others do not catch the infection.’
    • ‘People frequently catch this infection as children or young adults.’
    • ‘The department also called for residents to go to hospitals once they catch a fever or feel soreness in their bones.’
    • ‘If you catch the flu, carefully monitor and control your blood sugar levels and adjust your diabetes medication as needed.’
    • ‘Some vaccines do not offer life-long immunity and often the disease is far more serious when caught at an older age.’
    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
  • 8[no object] Become ignited, due to contact with flame, and start burning.

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


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

    • ‘The last thing you want to do is lose the ball after a good 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.’
    • ‘Three things are required to make a legal catch of a batted ball.’
    • ‘He continues to make tough catches, runs well after the catch and seems to have a knack for getting open.’
    • ‘I saw myself fumbling easy catches and looking clumsy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On one play, he turns around, stops and makes a one-handed catch of an underthrown ball.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They all allowed a high ball to bounce when they could have made the clean catch.’
    • ‘Cork's Nicholas Murphy won seven of those kick-outs, including four clean catches.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Smyth bravely made a great catch and played a long ball out of defence aiming for Curry.’
    • ‘They've been able to make great catches because the ball is thrown softly.’
    • ‘Patterson has turned in some acrobatic, diving catches of late.’
    • ‘She made a great catch and shot the ball over the bar for the last score.’
    • ‘He also is a skilled receiver who is productive running with the ball after making a catch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Robinson is also a fighter for the ball, and his catches are team boosters.’
    • ‘Keeper Nicky Roberts - who had a good game otherwise - misjudged the catch and the ball hopped tamely and agonisingly over the goal line.’
    1. 1.1An amount of fish caught.
      ‘a record catch of 6.9 billion pounds of fish’
      • ‘Boats reported a great catch of fish with many boats getting a great variety of species.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Fish stocks and catches are up, and they have the bonus of jobs and diving tourism income.’
      • ‘Our local fishermen are getting reasonable catches of prawns and little fish.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some stretches are very well stocked and if you're on fish, multiple catches are common.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘France, which lands the majority of deep sea fish, is proposing the introduction of the first ever limits on deep-sea catches.’
      • ‘He claimed to have evidence of widespread fraudulent reporting of fish catches, falsification of logbooks and illegal fishing in closed areas.’
      • ‘Most of the white fish boats continuing to fish herring with catches varying from good some days to poor other days.’
      • ‘At home catches of white fish have been poor over the last couple of weeks.’
      • ‘Winners were Paul Little and Isaac Miller with a fantastic catch, given the conditions, of 12 for 30 lb 9oz.’
      • ‘Kevin Whincup also advises that a recent consignment of roach into the front pond should see catches continuing through winter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It states that there are no quotas in force limiting catches and sustainable fishing levels need to be investigated as a matter of urgency.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many stillwater fisheries continue to report good catches.’
      haul, net, bag, take, yield, booty, prize
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2informal [in singular]A person considered attractive, successful, or prestigious and so desirable as a partner or spouse.
      ‘I mistakenly thought he would be a good catch’
      • ‘It is, in part, this ease that makes you a catch for potential partners.’
      • ‘All in all he just wasn't a particularly good catch.’
      • ‘She would be a particularly impressive catch.’
      • ‘The Shopkeeper was aware that Carl would be considered a good catch for any girl in town.’
      • ‘Grant Delamont, the one catch that every girl dreamed of at Edamont High.’
      • ‘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.’
      eligible man, eligible woman, marriage prospect, match, suitable husband, suitable spouse, suitable wife
      View synonyms
  • 2A device for securing something such as a door, window, or box.

    ‘the window catch was rusty’
    • ‘I walked into school, went to my locker, and lifted up on the catch without spinning my combination.’
    • ‘He flicked the catch open and eased the door open a few inches.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After cleaning myself I noticed the window catch was off.’
    • ‘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 tried to close the doors, but the catch was broken and light seeped in.’
    • ‘At present ventilation windows on carriages are secured by two catches spaced about a metre apart.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He smiled at her, as she undid the catch, and opened the huge wooden door.’
    • ‘Running her arms along the upper ridge of the crate, her fingers hit a catch in the wood, and immediately the door released.’
    • ‘There weren't any zippers, buttons or catches he could find, so it was just a matter of trial and error.’
    • ‘Chris stepped on a catch and the floor slid away, causing both Jade and Chris to tumble down into the pit.’
    • ‘Skillfully, she unlatched the catch and opened the door, allowing Edward and James to enter.’
    • ‘Mark and Rebecca stood, and the three of them hurried over to the windows, searching for levers or catches to pull them open.’
    • ‘The hall was empty, and he pulled his head back and closed the door, sliding the chain from the catch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The catch snapped and the window released slightly.’
    latch, lock, fastener, fastening, clasp, hasp, hook, bar, clip, bolt
    View synonyms
  • 3A hidden problem or disadvantage in an apparently ideal situation.

    ‘there's a catch in it somewhere’
    • ‘But it has a catch; not running correctly can result in painful cramps, sore muscles and maybe broken bones.’
    • ‘The girl looked up at her, too satisfied to care if there were any kind of hidden catches.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The catch is that contestants here, apparently not satisfied with simply voting someone off the island, actually try to kill one another.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My eyes danced about the surface of the coupon, examining each word for hidden meaning, hidden catches, and hidden insight into life itself.’
    • ‘The hidden catch here is that in this case, this rule was violated.’
    • ‘Then, to my horror, I discovered there was a catch: You could only use your copy of this font with a single printer!’
    • ‘Jared was too methodical, never one to take action without looking out for the catch.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
  • 4[in singular] An unevenness in a person's voice caused by emotion.

    ‘there was a catch in Anne's voice’
    • ‘Her father had told her, often with a catch in his voice, that her mother had died giving her birth.’
    • ‘‘Gareth says it's nearly time for you to leave,’ she said with a catch in her voice.’
    • ‘There was a little catch in Brian's voice when he responded after a long silence.’
    • ‘Sinjun didn't fail to notice the slight catch in her voice.’
    • ‘There was a catch in her voice, and Eric saw that she was fighting to keep from crying.’
    • ‘Despite his attempt at nonchalance, Jason noticed the catch in his voice immediately.’
    • ‘Karen told them in a scolding tone, but there was a catch in her voice.’
    • ‘Sherringham sounded only slightly winded, though there was a catch to his voice.’
    • ‘She frowned slightly, but she had caught the catch in his voice and understood that this was not an issue she should press.’
    • ‘‘You can wake me up now,’ she said with a slight catch in her 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.’
    • ‘There was a catch in Alex's voice as he crushed Vivienne to him.’
    • ‘At other times, he gives his voice just the right catch to sell a subtle moment.’
    • ‘The catch in her voice made him feel even worse for having to explain it again.’
    • ‘But Jay heard the catch in her voice, and pulled away, searching her face.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her response was simple, but he heard the catch of her voice.’
    tremor, unevenness, shake, shakiness, quiver, quivering, wobble
    View synonyms
  • 5Music
    A round, typically one with words arranged to produce a humorous effect.

    • ‘A Catch or Round of the best type of Elizabethan times consisted of one melody, generally perfectly continuous.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The catch was one of the most popular forms of song from the mid-Sixteenth through the late-nineteenth centuries.’
    • ‘The catch, a particular form of round based on word-play, was especially popular in Restoration England.’


  • catch someone napping

    • (of a person, action, or event) find someone off guard and unprepared to respond.

      ‘he caught the runner napping off second base and tagged him out’
      • ‘Then 11 minutes from time City were caught napping again.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I was caught napping that morning, the top three competitors stole a huge advantage over me which prevented me from challenging for a top three position.’’
      • ‘Several times throughout the first half, they were caught napping as the ball was played over, through and round them.’
      • ‘With Celtic pushing forward for the equaliser they were caught napping three minutes from time, to give the visitors a some what fortunate win.’
      • ‘I mean, you open the newspaper today and meningitis is across it many times and so we have been caught napping in terms of being arrogant enough to think that we've conquered infectious disease.’
      • ‘Indeed, the inclusion of these fine players in the opposition ranks strengthened the Colne side and it was they who nearly opened the scoring as Ilkley were caught napping.’
      • ‘Look, the administration said months ago that we were caught napping in this area.’
      • ‘Eventually, Manchester took a 2-1 lead before half time with an opportunist goal when a quickly-take free hit just inside the 22 caught Kendal napping for a second time.’
      • ‘From the restart, Windermere were caught napping, however, when poor tackling let Workington drive up the centre of the park.’
      • ‘The burghers of the town had been caught napping during the committee stages of the Bill.’
      catch off guard, catch unawares, take by surprise, surprise, catch in an unguarded moment, catch out, find unprepared
      catch someone with their pants down, catch someone with their trousers down
      catch on the hop
      View synonyms
  • be caught short

  • catch at straws

  • catch one's breath

    • see breath
      • ‘Each refrain was lovelier than the one before, and Morveren caught her breath in a sigh.’
      • ‘These are the moments when we catch our breath and glimpse the presence of the Divine.’
      • ‘Blinking rapidly to stay awake, Diona caught her breath at the full splendor of sunrise.’
      • ‘What the breath coach did observe was that Jake caught his breath and clammed up, then became anxious.’
      • ‘She caught her breath as the figure picked up the torch she had laid on the edge of the hearth.’
      • ‘He caught his breath, and shivered, thinking that if she were to touch him, he would burn.’
    • 1Cease breathing momentarily in surprise or fear.

      • ‘As I walked out of our cottage, the sky caught my breath as I muttered a "thank you" to God for such a beautiful place.’
      • ‘The pain wasn't too bad but it caught my breath.’
      pant, puff, puff and pant, blow, heave, wheeze, breathe hard, breathe heavily, catch one's breath, draw in one's breath, gulp, choke, fight for breath, struggle for air
      View synonyms
    • 2Rest after exercise to restore normal breathing.

      ‘she stood for a few moments, catching her breath’
      • ‘Once the pain subsided, I was still panting and trying to catch my breath.’
      • ‘I crouched down behind a pile of broken stone to catch my breath.’
      • ‘It felt like my chest tightened up and I had to struggle to catch my breath.’
  • catch one's death (of cold)

    • Catch a severe cold or chill.

      • ‘He will catch his death of cold one day, taking so little care of himself in these weathers.’
      • ‘Some drunk helpfully kicked him and said, ‘You can't stay there, you'll catch your death.’’
      • ‘It's your last chance to bring in all tender plants growing in pots before they catch their death of cold in early frosts.’
      • ‘If that was me, my mother would run on to the pitch and tell me to get off the wet grass before I catch my death of cold.’
      • ‘When Archer opens the window for fresh air to clear his mind, May tells him to shut it: ‘You'll catch your death!’’
      • ‘You could have caught your death out there in the rain!’
      • ‘Your sister would easily catch her death - she's very susceptible to illness right now and she's of a fragile constitution as it is anyway.’
      • ‘There are extensive views from here across Ilkley Moor and Wharfedale, but don't forget to wrap up warm or you may just catch your death of cold!’
      • ‘Now let's get you warm before you catch your death.’
      • ‘You will catch your death out here, without a coat!’
      • ‘You'll catch your death of cold here, if you keep sitting in that puddle.’
      • ‘You'll catch your death out here,’ he growled, undoing his cloak and wrapping it around her.’
      • ‘‘Ah, come in out of the rain,’ replies Mrs O'Connor, possibly innocent, possibly knowing, ‘or you'll catch your death.’’
      • ‘When you get to the party, you change out of those wet clothes or you'll catch your death out here.’
      • ‘Surely a porch to stop diners catching their death of cold every time someone comes in for a beer wouldn't be too much to ask?’
      • ‘Um… Could we stay the night, it is dreadfully cold out here, and we might catch our death if we don't get in out of the rain.’
      • ‘You don't look like you're wearing anything under that nightdress and you'll catch your death of cold if you wear just that’
      • ‘Go and put some dry clothes on quick, before you catch your death of cold.’
      • ‘You need to get out of those wet clothes before you catch your death.’
      • ‘Liza fears she will catch her death if she gets entirely wet.’
  • catch someone's eye

    • 1Be noticed by someone.

      ‘a vase on a side table caught his eye’
      • ‘How often have you bought a book you'd never heard of, just because it caught your eye in the bookshop?’
      • ‘Hop on and off all day long, stopping to see the attractions that catch your eye.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Groups of people were browsing their way through the many beer tents trying whatever caught their eye.’
      • ‘In addition to his general argument I'd draw attention to two other stories that caught my eye.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But it was Jessica who caught their eye with her poise and confidence.’
      • ‘Her attention was swayed as a beautiful blue vase caught her eye.’
    • 2Attract someone's attention by making eye contact.

      ‘I caught Rhoda's eye and gave her a friendly wave’
      • ‘My friend and I had a very attentive waiter who replenished our drinks as soon as we caught his eye.’
      • ‘I looked up to see what he was talking about and caught Tim 's eye.’
      • ‘I caught Milton 's eye again, and he was grinning ear to ear.’
      • ‘When she caught his eye, she noticed his lip was trembling, trying to keep the tears in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After a few minutes she noticed Mrs. Dobbs trying to catch her eye, and so she returned the glance.’
      • ‘He didn't even notice when she stopped and tried to catch his 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.’
      • ‘I looked at him hoping to catch his eye but he looked past me without really noticing.’
  • catch fire

    • Become ignited and burn.

    • 1Begin to burn.

      • ‘After the rectory caught fire and burned down in July 1702, he changed his mind.’
      • ‘It was rare that a race report didn't include at least one car catching fire or sailing off course on the top end.’
      • ‘But nowadays, we very much hope that we don't get cars catching fire.’
      • ‘He said the assault happened when the contents of an aerosol sprayed at the boy's head caught fire, burning his eyebrows and hair.’
      • ‘He spoke to the driver who made no response, and because of his concern that the car could catch fire he disconnected its battery.’
      • ‘‘Cars catching fire is a very frequent occurrence in Shanghai,’ Jiang said.’
      • ‘The electricity sparked and sections of the subway began to catch fire.’
      • ‘The defendant employed a chauffeur, and on one occasion when he was attempting to start the car it caught fire.’
      • ‘The moth eventually catches fire, burns and dies; consumed by the very mystery it sought.’
      • ‘In a finely divided form, the metal may catch fire spontaneously and burn vigorously.’
      ignite, catch light, burst into flames, go up in flames, begin to burn
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Become interesting or exciting.
        ‘the show never caught fire’
        • ‘But unless consumers notice a dramatic change for the better, Firefox could really begin to catch fire - and outfox Internet Explorer.’
        • ‘The offensive began in Paris just as the market began to catch fire.’
        • ‘I think they've really caught fire and really have done something very, very important.’
        • ‘September 17 was the day the inquiry caught fire.’
        • ‘Brian Maloney has an interesting post up about Air America's failure to catch fire with listeners.’
        • ‘Suddenly history smouldered, warmed up, caught fire and burned into my consciousness.’
        • ‘As the game began to catch fire in the States, business proved brisk.’
        • ‘They're just now getting interested in the campaign, but he hasn't caught fire.’
  • catch someone in the act

    • Surprise someone in the process of doing something wrong.

      ‘the thieves were caught in the act’
      • ‘So he did a kamikaze attack on my fridge about 2 minutes before his bedtime and I caught him in the act and said, ‘Hey, Kitchen's CLOSED, it's time for bed.’’
      • ‘NEARLY 100 of North Yorkshire's most prolific offenders will be swept off the streets if they are caught in the act again.’
      • ‘Night after night I heard the same excuse from every officer, until he is caught in the act of violating the restraining order by a police officer, no arrest can be made.’
      • ‘I followed her gaze to see Carter, who looked like he had been caught in the act of doing something wrong.’
      • ‘The court had heard how Frazer was caught in the act after a routine police patrol stopped the car he was driving as officers were suspicious following a spate of break ins.’
      • ‘A German company has sacked one of its employees for smoking at home after hiring a detective to catch him in the act.’
      • ‘However, during their third attack in nine days, they were caught in the act after police set up patrols and arrested them when they stole a handbag from a 46 year-old woman.’
      • ‘The difference was that we were caught in the act so we couldn't deny it.’
      • ‘Unless nursing staff had caught him in the act then even with half-hourly or even quarter-hourly observations, that might not have altered the outcome.’
      • ‘And the council warned it would step up its campaign, with new powers meaning it could take firms to court even if it has not caught them in the act of dumping.’
      • ‘At this point, a guy suddenly came along the pathway around the bend, and caught me in the act of arguing with the cat.’
      • ‘The council also visits schools across the town to talk to children about the trouble they could get into if they were caught in the act.’
      • ‘They return the next night after Jule realises she has left her mobile somewhere in the house, but Hardenberg surprises them and catches them in the act.’
      • ‘It's very difficult to arrest people unless we catch them in the act.’
      • ‘They usually ask if you can identify the perpetrators and I've pointed out to them that if they arrive quickly, they'll catch them in the act.’
      • ‘Then, in 1993, she was caught in the act of torching a neighbor's home in Ajo, Arizona, and sentenced to 15 years in prison.’
      • ‘Our covert approach to surveillance gives us an element of surprise over our targets, often catching them in the act.’
      • ‘All propaganda is a sophisticated form of deception and she had been caught in the act of misdirecting the electorate.’
      • ‘Coun Sunderland said: ‘I want cameras which can catch them in the act and I believe people should be fined.’’
      • ‘The wives find out about the plot and put in a plan of their own to catch them in the act.’
      discover, detect, find, come across, come upon, stumble on, chance on, light on, bring to light, turn up, expose, find out, unmask
      View synonyms
  • catch it

    • informal Be punished or told off.

      • ‘Some state coordinators are still catching hell for the choices they made.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Everything I did in life that was worthwhile I caught hell for.’
      • ‘And when you're catching hell from both sides, as Brian indicated, you must be doing something right.’
      • ‘It's because somewhere, they broke a rule they didn't know about and caught hell for it.’
      • ‘They bought the cheap labor mantra like it was religion and are now catching hell.’
      • ‘Lately I've been spending too much time in your bars, coming home all hours of the morning and catching hell from my girlfriend.’
      • ‘They ran out of trolleys that night, and I caught hell from Mr Norton.’
      • ‘The next day I really caught it from my so called buddies about taking her to the dance.’
      • ‘Dave already has caught hell, and lots of it.’
      be reprimanded, be scolded, be rebuked, be taken to task, be admonished, be chastised, be castigated, get into trouble, be hauled over the coals
      be told off, be for it, be for the high jump, get into deep water, get into hot water, get into shtook, get a dressing-down, get an earful, get a roasting, get a rocket, get a rollicking, get a rap over the knuckles, get a slap on the wrist
      View synonyms
  • catch the light

    • Shine or glint in the light.

      • ‘Its shimmering texture caught the light perfectly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When she turned away, her earrings caught the light.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her necklace caught the light and shimmered against her skin.’
      • ‘Try a healthy dose of illumination for your eyes with discreet, shimmery pigments that catch the light and radiate a heart-stopping, soft glow.’
      • ‘Her eyes are a piercing shade of light blue; when they catch the light, the effect is truly arresting.’
      • ‘To play up the effect of the candle light, add some decorative items that will catch the light.’
      • ‘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.’
      shine, glimmer, glint, catch the light, glitter, shimmer, glow, sparkle, twinkle, flicker, blink, wink, glisten, flash, flare, beam, fluoresce
      View synonyms
  • catch sight of

    • Suddenly notice; glimpse.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She picked up a tray then caught sight of a familiar figure studying the food.’
      • ‘Kiara caught sight of a familiar face, turning in surprise to see Justin.’
      • ‘Hoping to catch sight of him, she frequented performances of his plays.’
      • ‘I caught sight of an accident on my way to work today.’
      • ‘She opened her mouth to reply but first caught sight of my bedside clock.’
      • ‘Her eyes then caught sight of an empty milk carton.’
      • ‘Catching sight of herself in the warmly lit mirror, she pulled a face.’
      • ‘Then he stopped short as he caught sight of David standing on his bottom step.’
      • ‘He ran back to the group and Sarah caught sight of him.’
      • ‘For the first time in ages I caught sight of The Independent.’
      • ‘Instead, we caught sight of this stall selling all sorts of fried items.’
      • ‘I was sitting here feeling very sorry for myself, when I caught sight of your photo.’
      • ‘Fans and reporters scramble to catch sight of Jackson.’
      • ‘Pixel narrowed her eyes and caught sight of the target.’
      • ‘Looking around in the darkness, Kirby caught sight of someone moving in the trees at the opposite end of the beach.’
      • ‘Catching sight of the black girls, she stared.’
      • ‘The Doctor catches sight of himself in the mirror.’
      • ‘Returning, I caught sight of a whitetip reef shark resting on the sand.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But you wouldn't catch me staring into his eyes.’
      • ‘I can assure you, though, that you wouldn't catch me sitting on a dock of a bay this particular shade of rust.’
      • ‘Oh no, you wouldn't catch me doing that, guv'nor…’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Well, you wouldn't catch me behind the stick of one of those things.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • catch on

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

      ‘his music never caught on in the South’
      • ‘Were you always confident that the idea of having choral groups in the community and performing would catch on the way it has?’
      • ‘Vinyl fencing is a relatively new product, but is catching on fast.’
      • ‘Christmas markets are popular in Europe and have recently begun to catch on in Britain’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Despite its worldwide popularity golf has never caught on in big way in St Lucia.’
      • ‘Australia's geographic isolation plays a big part in why the practice has caught on.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the idea doesn't seem to be catching on very fast.’
      • ‘Halloween's still an American tradition though catching on here fast.’
      • ‘But there are others who vouch for the success, saying the trend has really caught on.’
      • ‘If the practice catches on, however, I would like to see it broadened to include more misunderstood groups.’
      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’
      • ‘Taylor came into the conversation late but quickly caught on to the discussion.’
      • ‘He bent his head down and began kissing my neck and I finally caught on to what he was about to do.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It takes him forever to catch on to the game, and even when he finally understands he still takes no action.’
      • ‘Although I must admit, you catch on faster than anyone I have ever known.’
      • ‘He's exceptionally smart; he catches on very quickly, and is already learning how to read.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Maybe this is a case where Hollywood has actually caught on to the value of free content.’
      understand, comprehend, learn, realize
      View synonyms
  • catch up

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was almost an element of teasing the pursuing Gary Smith, for the centre-half came close to catching the fleet-footed striker.’
      • ‘However, once he got to third, Harvey and Templeman were just too far ahead for Westbrook to catch them.’
      • ‘He says the people of Poland must work hard because they have a struggle ahead to catch the other countries of the West.’
      • ‘You don't want them looking at the table and thinking: Chelsea are too far ahead for us to catch them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nearing Poer Head, Conor and Denise Phelan in Endeavour managed to catch them but could not pass clear ahead.’
      • ‘Lavan chases after Yaakov and upon catching him accuses Yaakov of stealing his Terafim.’
      • ‘He was unable to catch the Briton ahead of him.’
      • ‘I headed to the Myers house; I wasn't fast enough to catch Theo before he headed inside so I knocked on the door.’
      • ‘He caught them with little effort, looked at them, and then smiled wide showing plenty of teeth.’
      1. 1.1Do work or other tasks that one should have done earlier.
        ‘he normally used the afternoons to catch up on paperwork’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Public holidays are when I catch up on household chores and visit my ailing parents.’
        • ‘I sat down after dinner to catch up on correspondence but found my eyes drooping almost immediately.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Oh, and there's a backlog of domestic and business stuff to catch up on.’
        • ‘Monday saw me back at work; I hit the ground running as there was quite a bit 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 like having the place to myself, though I have a bunch of housework to catch up on.’
        • ‘Work is settling down though I still have quite a few things to catch up on after the trip.’
        • ‘I am never on top of my work and forever trying to catch up on paper work.’
  • 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’
      • ‘The twins had caught up with their younger sister, and both of them began to speak at once.’
      • ‘So I started to cycle as fast as I could and soon began to catch up with the other cyclists.’
      • ‘There were policemen running after him, but it was clear just by the photo that they had no chance of catching up with them.’
      • ‘They had actually reached the car when he caught up with them.’
      • ‘I shook my head slightly at those thoughts and jogged a little faster, catching up with Matt and Liz ahead.’
      • ‘He started peddling faster, and within seconds caught up with her, and passed her.’
      • ‘As I began to catch up with him I shouted to a passer by to help me stop him, which he did.’
      • ‘She managed to catch up with him and grab the bike, then began calling out for help.’
      • ‘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.’
    • 2Talk to (someone) whom one has not seen for some time in order to find out what he or she has been doing in the interim.

      ‘a chance to catch up with old friends’
      • ‘Two female former schoolmates whom I caught up with two weeks ago also found themselves single recently.’
      • ‘I must admit I was mostly pleased to not be at work and to have the chance to catch up with a few people.’
      • ‘Last month I had a chance to catch up with Matt and discuss the book.’
      • ‘Communal meals in the dining hall allow you a chance to catch up with friends and make new ones.’
      • ‘Like all these things, it was a good chance to catch up with old friends!’
      • ‘Still, it was great to catch up with so many old friends and workmates.’
      • ‘It was great having a chance to catch up with you over lunch today.’
      • ‘After breakfast I went into our Canberra office and caught up with some old colleagues which was strangely reassuring.’
      • ‘Pat said the evening was a chance to catch up with old friends and was thoroughly enjoyable.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Eventually his legion of injuries began to catch up with him.’
      • ‘As time passes and the booze catches up with her, she dozes off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All these days and nights without sleep were beginning to catch 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.’
      • ‘She tried to keep her eyes open but the sleepless day was beginning to catch up with her.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Vinnie Roe is a wonderfully brave horse but old age is catching up with him.’
      • ‘My patient's unhealthy lifestyle began to catch up with him peripheral vascular disease, a stroke, and then angina.’
  • be/get caught up in

    • Become 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.’
      • ‘There are some things that you got caught up in then that you might have regrets about now.’
      • ‘Let's just watch wrestling and stop getting caught up in all this debate!’
      • ‘Why do so many investors get caught up in small speculative companies?’
      • ‘Did I intend to get caught up in some weird drama with a bunch of people I don't know?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What if, like so many others, I was caught up in this terrible tangle of lives that led nowhere?’
      • ‘The Christmas shopping phenomena has begun and I really do not want to get caught up in that again.’
      • ‘The first lap of today's race was quite dramatic and it was very important to me to avoid getting caught up in that.’


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.