Definition of catch in US English:

catch

verb

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

    ‘she threw the bottle into the air and caught it again’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Cover the ground with canvas drop cloths to catch the paint chips.’
    • ‘His head was tilted back, his hands splayed out as if to catch drops from a leaking firmament.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Spread newspaper everywhere to catch the drops and make sure your room is well-ventilated.’
    • ‘There were always pots across one wall of her sitting room to catch the drops.’
    • ‘A childish glee overtook her, and she put out her tongue to catch the falling rain drops.’
    • ‘Try as Emilion might, he could not teach me to throw and catch the pesky things properly.’
    • ‘Every time there's even a semblance of running water, we put something under the faucet to catch the precious drops.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She snatched up her shirt and boombox, rubbing the back of her hand over her forehead, catching the sweat drops before they fell.’
    • ‘Her tongue darted out faster than humanly possible, catching a drop on the tip.’
    • ‘Two people went up each tree while the third person ran around below with the backpack, trying to catch the fruit they dropped down.’
    • ‘She spins around like a little girl with her tongue sticking out to catch the drops.’
    • ‘Cyrus had to react quickly with the napkin to catch the drop of spaghetti sauce that had fallen from his lips.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
    1. 1.1 Intercept the fall of (someone).
      • ‘Her first reaction was to run over there, and catch Jackie before she fell, but Jason beat her to it.’
      • ‘As she pitched forward, about to fall, someone caught her by her upper arms.’
      • ‘Thankfully, Sam is around almost all the time, keeping an eye on me, ready to catch me when I fall.’
      • ‘He lowered himself while Jason stood just below him to catch him if he fell.’
      • ‘Luckily, someone from behind caught her before she fell back onto the parking lot floor.’
      • ‘Matt grabbed her quickly, catching her before she fell off the bed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Andrew yelled as he ran to catch her before she fell to the deck.’
      • ‘He rushed forward towards the princess and caught her as she fell from her horse.’
      • ‘How many times do you have to fall before someone catches you and stays around?’
      • ‘She fell, but he caught her in his arms, and laid her gently on the floor.’
      • ‘He was too far away to catch her before she fell, her head hitting the cement.’
      • ‘Her knees buckled under her and I caught her before she fell face down.’
      • ‘He caught her before she could hit the ground.’
      • ‘William caught her before she fell, holding her in the fold of his left arm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He catches me before I fall and then sends me past him, towards my closet.’
      • ‘The bouncer steps toward her, his arms ready to catch her should she fall.’
      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 caught hold of the boy's collar and dragged him, pushing him into his bed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She reached over and caught his hand in hers, rubbing a thumb over the back of his palm.’
      • ‘As we drove past, he caught hold of her hair and began pulling, even as her screams mingled with the loud music.’
      • ‘They caught hold of his uniform and tore at it, especially all the more Zinfer tried to pull away from their grasp.’
      • ‘Leo caught hold of my arm and motioned to me that the coast was clear.’
      • ‘I should have let her go like that, but something beyond me made me reach out and catch her arm.’
      • ‘I was about to turn and walk back to the pack when Mac reached out and caught my arm.’
      • ‘As they swung back towards Evie's bar for the second time, she caught hold of it, and the boy released her.’
      • ‘The horse whinnied when Arnold caught hold of its bridle, rearing up on its hind legs.’
      • ‘With a little smile, she made a little jump and caught hold of the end of the branch that was nearest the floor.’
      • ‘Jack caught hold of her arm and pulled her back to stand in front of him.’
      • ‘But, he caught her arm and reached in his drawer in his nightstand and pulled out a syringe.’
      • ‘She swung it at Shouma's face, but he caught her hand and threw it back at her.’
      • ‘He caught hold of the neck of the offending garment and ripped it clean to the hem.’
      • ‘You step back and Michael reaches out, catching the hem of your t-shirt in his hand.’
      • ‘The first three times I permitted it, but on the fourth I reached down and caught his hand.’
      • ‘He reached up and caught my chin gently with his hand, turning me to face him.’
      • ‘When she reached the very top of the pipe she reached out with her hand and caught hold of the edge.’
      • ‘At the top of your pull, quickly drop under and catch the bar with your arms extended overhead.’
      • ‘He caught hold of her frantically fluttering hands and forced her to stay still and look at him.’
      • ‘I thought my worst fears had come true when someone just caught hold of my hand.’
      • ‘I slipped, caught hold of the back of a chair, and sat down on the floor, heavily.’
      • ‘When they would have parted at the top of the stairs, Sam caught hold of her hand, stopping 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.’
      • ‘As Mary led him to where her SUV was parked, he reached out and caught her hand in his.’
      • ‘John used this time to free himself from the hold and he caught hold of the man breaking his attacker's wrist.’
      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’
      • ‘Gabriel caught at her hand as she wrenched open the door.’
      • ‘Automatically, his own hands rose to catch at his master's arm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Abby caught at his arm, and he started to push her away, then stopped himself.’
      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
  • 2Capture (a person or animal that tries or would try to escape)

    ‘we hadn't caught a single rabbit’
    • ‘The culprit was quickly caught and thrown into a maximum security holding cell.’
    • ‘We arrived back at the Inn late that afternoon without having caught a single fish.’
    • ‘It always seemed to me that it was pretty rare for the hunt actually to catch a fox.’
    • ‘When the rabbit season comes, we hunt and catch a few rabbits.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Welsh terrier is a rough-coated animal with droopy ears, originally bred in Wales to catch rats, mice and other vermin.’
    • ‘The hunt, which was out for about four hours, did not catch a fox.’
    • ‘The soldiers said they caught several species of fish including carp and a large catfish.’
    • ‘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 never made any secret of the fact that we used dogs to catch rabbits.’
    • ‘If you catch them you should throw them back in, or at very least agree not to take the three points.’
    • ‘Government workers tried to catch the creature by laying cages and shooting it with tranquilliser darts, but they failed.’
    • ‘‘No they are catching them and throwing them back into the water,’ I explained.’
    • ‘Very few city dwellers are willing to go to the trouble of catching a wild cat, which is a dangerous exercise anyway.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was the fourth largest rainbow trout caught at the venue since 1979.’
    • ‘The easiest time of the year to catch rabbit is winter.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So far it had caught four mice, which he was certain were all different ones, rather than being the same one returning each time.’
    capture, seize
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    1. 2.1be caught in (of a person) unexpectedly find oneself in (an unwelcome situation)
      ‘my sister was caught in a thunderstorm’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So, the president really seems to be caught in a Catch 22 here and it's largely of his own making.’
      • ‘My last day there, we were caught in the middle of some ugliness on that bridge.’
      • ‘A group of young, wealthy people are out for a cruise on a pleasure yacht when they are caught unexpectedly in a major storm.’
      • ‘The Chinese migrants drowned in February when they were caught in fast-rising tides on the sands of Morecambe Bay.’
      • ‘My cheeks prickled with heat at the embarrassing circumstances we were caught in.’
      • ‘In his hands, Javier develops into a sympathetic character who is caught in the middle of an impossible situation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Would taxpayers have relief when faced with the situation of being caught in circumstances beyond their control?’
      • ‘An hour later we were caught in a terrific thunder storm - lightning, torrential rain, the works.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You should never be caught in a situation where junk food is your only option.’
      • ‘They were catching fewer and fewer fish, and often they were caught in storms at sea.’
      • ‘But the trio were caught in heavy swells near Mayor Island late on Sunday night on the last leg of their return.’
      • ‘Speaking yesterday, Mr Ferguson said the law needed to be changed before anyone else was caught in the same situation.’
      • ‘But there was always the danger that he would be caught in situations he could not easily explain.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2 Surprise (someone) in an incriminating situation or in the act of doing something wrong.
      ‘he was caught with bomb-making equipment in his home’
      • ‘But as Alex began to unbutton his pants, she quickly turned her head, afraid he would catch her looking.’
      • ‘But Frank returns unexpectedly and catches the two together in a confrontation that will change everyone's lives.’
      • ‘The fact is that it is ineffective in cases of proven crime and criminals who have been caught red-handed.’
      • ‘My last stepfather, upon catching me acting out the putrid stories, declared me crazy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To their surprise they caught him with a soldier on Hampstead Heath.’
      • ‘For the second week in a row a top Irish jockey was caught dropping his hands on a winning placed horse.’
      • ‘But the exercise continues as the police do not want to be caught napping.’
      • ‘Flushing a bit upon catching herself staring at him, Meira lowered her head quickly so as not to be noticed.’
      • ‘Unless we catch them throwing a bottle or dropping litter all we can do is ask them to leave.’
      • ‘Muscat was once caught naughtily propelling a clump of mud in the direction of an opponent stepping up to take a penalty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He spends all of his waking hours hatching schemes to catch the thief red-handed.’
      • ‘The individual was sentenced to six years in jail in July 2003 after being caught with a haul of heroin.’
      • ‘Funnily enough, I was almost caught in a compromising situation earlier by one of the engineers.’
      • ‘Police must be on top at all times and not caught napping when criminals strike.’
      • ‘He repressed an urge to call for help, realizing how it would look if anyone caught him in this situation.’
      • ‘She was caught by our photographer dropping bags of bread for the birds near the town bridge.’
      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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    3. 2.3 Come upon (someone) unexpectedly.
      ‘unexpected snow caught us by surprise’
      • ‘The cleric thinking he had done all he could do, was then caught off guard.’
      • ‘Timms' move was so sudden, so unexpected, that it caught the woman completely 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.’
      • ‘The theatrical techniques adopted by the troupe caught the audience by surprise.’
      • ‘Once she was right behind him she jumped on his back and caught him completely by surprise.’
      • ‘I am afraid if we wait any longer, the fall rains will catch us.’
      • ‘We've all been so worried about peak oil, it is not surprising we were caught unawares.’
      • ‘There is little doubt that Stephen was caught by surprise.’
      • ‘The bike was powerful - far more so than he had expected - and the unexpected force caught him off guard.’
      • ‘The situation had caught her so off guard that she had no idea how to approach it.’
      • ‘If he caught you at the wrong time, he could talk your ear off.’
      • ‘On Monday an early morning call from our ace reporter Adam Nichols caught him by surprise.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Intelligence authorities resolved that the United States should never again be caught unprepared.’
      • ‘US military and civilian leaders were again caught by surprise, and another costly price was paid in American casualties.’
      • ‘The unexpected attack caught him off guard and he landed on the porch with a thud.’
      • ‘An unseasonably early and severe storm caught several climbers by surprise in the Sierra Nevada.’
      • ‘He is again caught by surprise and the two topple over.’
      • ‘When the bad weather hit I was caught completely by surprise.’
  • 3no object, with adverbial of place (of an object) accidentally become entangled or trapped in something.

    ‘the charm bracelet always caught on her clothing’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘I'm sorry,’ she said, coming so hastily to her feet her heel caught in her skirt and she lurched forward.’
    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 (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’
      • ‘Stumbling out, Steven catches his watch in a woman's hair.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She chased him through the security gates and nearly caught her flowing skirt in the elevator.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On New Year's Eve, a woman caught her hair in an escalator.’
      • ‘I climbed out of the carriage after Amari, who was carefully making sure she didn't catch her dress on the carriage door.’
      • ‘She shifted her legs, being careful not to catch her trousers on the seat edge and sniffed the air delicately.’
      • ‘Danny had just caught his shirt and a bit of the skin underneath on some barbed wire.’
      • ‘He caught his right foot in a drain, his knee shredded, never to be the same.’
      • ‘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 slipped the camera under first, but still managed to catch my shirt on the lock above.’
      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 back in a scrunchie’
      • ‘Her hair was caught back in a great net of silver, also dotted with diamonds.’
      • ‘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.’
      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 Chicago’
    • ‘Police also want to speak to three men who caught a train about 8.40 pm and were overheard talking about the incident.’
    • ‘The next morning I caught a bus to east Leeds and walked about.’
    • ‘Older people don't all have cars and must cross the road to catch the bus.’
    • ‘At the end of that week, Pip drops Herbert off to catch his ship to Cairo.’
    • ‘The group stayed on that boat for several hours, then unexpectedly disembarked and caught a later boat.’
    • ‘I slept another night and caught the train the next morning.’
    • ‘Back in London he caught a train from King's Cross to York.’
    • ‘I caught the train and it was really nice to just sit back and read.’
    • ‘Mr North now has to catch a bus and a train to get to work which takes him two hours.’
    • ‘One couple from Malton said they could catch the train from home and that the bus simply did not offer enough comfort.’
    • ‘It is not as if you can catch a bus or train, or hail a cab to go anywhere.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Your mother and I caught a bus from the airport last time.’
    • ‘I only just catch my train, quickly jump on the first carriage, and bury myself in my morning paper.’
    • ‘I alighted from the train at Huddersfield and caught a bus to New Mill.’
    • ‘They stayed overnight in London and the next day caught another train to Brighton for their week-long honeymoon.’
    • ‘Passengers would be able to spend time in the city before booking in and catching a new secure rail service to their flight.’
    • ‘Then I had to catch a bus, then a train, and walk quite a way to the house.’
    • ‘They were then taken to buy visas and had to reach Cancun to catch a flight to Cuba.’
    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, program, etc.)
      ‘she was hurrying downstairs to catch the news’
      • ‘You can now stop following scores on the Internet after lunch and rushing home from work to catch the final session on TV.’
      • ‘Just this morning I caught the tail end of yet another appeal on behalf of a young child in desperate need of surgery abroad.’
      • ‘I worked another 12 hour shift on Sunday, getting home in time to catch the tail end of the Oscars.’
      • ‘I wandered out of the foyer, just catching the start of the next interaction at the reception desk.’
      • ‘On the upside, I think I'll get to catch an episode of Sports Night.’
      • ‘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 made it in time to catch the end of the women's three-metre springboard event.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We've arrived just in time to catch the end of Feast Week, a festival of which I still know very little.’
      • ‘I've just caught the end of a brief TV programme about Sonia Lo, co-founder of A Recipe for Peace.’
      • ‘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 was then just in time to catch the final episode of The Office.’
      • ‘And if you're lucky, you might just catch the end of the sales.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 had caught the tail end of his performance - enough to give me but a small idea of the man.’
      • ‘There is still time to catch an exhibition of beautiful and practical baskets and intriguing paper imprints at Brantwood's Severn Studio.’
      • ‘There was one of these in Seattle that I only caught the tail end of because I was working.’
      • ‘If you get a chance - like, you're at home during the day, or babysitting, or a student, or something - catch an episode.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 5Engage (a person's interest or imagination).

    • ‘I hope this scheme will catch the imagination of the public and we shall be exploring the opportunities for investment from the private sector.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To catch students' interest and to highlight the importance of recycling a competition is being held over the next four weeks.’
    • ‘There were other topics that caught my interest.’
    • ‘Her red hair caught his attention first, and then it was those icy blue eyes.’
    • ‘The idea has caught the imagination of the national media and it is hoped more information will be available next week.’
    • ‘If Egan had simply made this argument and then left town, his lobbying effort might not have caught my notice.’
    • ‘American modernism, full of exiles and immigrants, caught his attention early.’
    • ‘It is clear at this stage that the song has a universal appeal, catching the imagination of young and old alike.’
    • ‘She browsed through her entries for a long time, before finding something that caught her interest.’
    • ‘But they soon caught the public imagination, in Yorkshire more than most places.’
    • ‘I haven't read it all yet, but one facet of the investigation has caught my interest.’
    • ‘The next venture was a jumble-sale which caught the imagination of so many and began the fund-raising in earnest.’
    • ‘Again I was lost in a daze, staring at the boy who had caught my attention earlier.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was just walking through the library, not looking for anything in particular, when he comes upon a book that catches his attention.’
    • ‘Something about her caught my imagination, not beauty in the traditional sense but some unknown quality.’
    • ‘Consequently, house prices would need to drop very significantly to catch my attention.’
    • ‘The scheme has already caught the imagination and interest of local school children.’
    • ‘Having caught your attention and thrown you back in time, he shows you something worth watching.’
    engage, capture, attract, draw, gain, grab, arrest, seize, hold, win, absorb, engross, rivet, grip, captivate, bewitch
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    1. 5.1 Perceive fleetingly.
      ‘she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror’
      • ‘Elly turned to Jade's companion, her jaw dropping as she caught sight of the strange menagerie.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The customer smiled back and then I caught sight of Aidan reaching with his hand toward the lowest shelf.’
      • ‘A good hour passes before we reach Skull Island and catch a glimpse of the mighty Kong.’
      • ‘This time she caught a glimpse of his slim figure but she still could not see his face.’
      • ‘The shopkeeper could have caught a glimpse of the plastic bags.’
      • ‘He even caught a glimpse of some movement out of the corner of his eye.’
      • ‘My already sad heart dropped when I caught sight of the peeling piece of wood that read New Hope Ranch.’
      • ‘Is this a sight from heaven or what: catching a glimpse of her is enough to make you reach for the blood-pressure tablets.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I still recall one Sunday morning when I caught a glimpse of them outside.’
      • ‘I caught a glimpse of a clock and it read about two ten in the morning.’
      • ‘I looked up and caught sight of Kenny throwing his black backpack on the table.’
      • ‘My upper body wavered precariously and my eyes watered as I caught sight of the drop below.’
      • ‘Hurriedly pulling a comb through his dark hair, he caught his image in a mirror.’
      • ‘At first she could see nothing, but then caught a glimpse of something black trying to hide from her behind a branch.’
      • ‘Glancing over his shoulder, he caught a glimpse of her on her cell phone.’
      • ‘As he walked to the showers he caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror.’
      perceive, notice, observe, discern, detect, note, become aware of, make out, spot, see
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    2. 5.2 Hear or understand (something said), especially with effort.
      ‘he bellowed something Jess couldn't catch’
      • ‘He went inside mumbling something about friends and enemies that I didn't quite catch.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Let's call her Tamsin, Or Timsun, as she would say it, although she said her name so fast I never caught it.’
      • ‘I had to raise and lower the volume more than once to catch what had just been said.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘The few words that Neesha did catch were too jumbled up to understand.’
      hear, perceive, recognize, discern, make out
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    3. 5.3 Succeed in evoking or representing.
      ‘the program caught something of the flavor of Minoan culture’
      • ‘It really catches the feel of Dave's work.’
      • ‘He explores the space, catches its relationship and represents it in various forms.’
      • ‘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
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  • 6 Strike (someone) on a part of the body.

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

    • ‘This can help symptoms, but patients are at risk from catching pneumonia or developing an air leak where the lung is re-sealed.’
    • ‘At the time there were about one billion people in the world and about half of those caught this illness.’
    • ‘Thomas, who regularly catches urinary infections, urgently needs surgery to expand his bladder to ensure he will not suffer kidney failure.’
    • ‘Her daughter then caught a fever that carried her off within twenty-four hours.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He caught scarlet fever when he was a young child and this affected his hearing.’
    • ‘People frequently catch this infection as children or young adults.’
    • ‘At this time it is not clear if the female nurse caught the disease from the patient, or through other sources.’
    • ‘A child with TB may have to stay in the hospital so others do not catch the infection.’
    • ‘People normally catch this flu from infected birds, usually chickens and ducks.’
    • ‘If you catch the flu, carefully monitor and control your blood sugar levels and adjust your diabetes medication as needed.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘I thought that he had probably caught cat flu and was going to die.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The department also called for residents to go to hospitals once they catch a fever or feel soreness in their bones.’
    • ‘It damages unborn babies, and may cause miscarriage if the mother catches the disease while pregnant.’
    • ‘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
  • 8no object Become ignited, due to contact with flame, and start burning.

    ‘the rafters have caught’
    • ‘Shortly a fire caught in the wick of the oil lamp and shed light through the tent.’
    • ‘Analise poked at the embers, hoping a new fire would catch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Shrugging, he threw some twigs into the fire, watching them catch and crackle.’
    • ‘The wood caught, but it burned feebly.’
    • ‘The flame catches and burns the empty paper to an ash.’
    • ‘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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      start, start running, fire, begin working, go, function, operate
      View synonyms

noun

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Three things are required to make a legal catch of a batted ball.’
    • ‘Jessica panicked when he missed the catch and the ball came flying to her.’
    • ‘She made a great catch and shot the ball over the bar for the last score.’
    • ‘Patterson has turned in some acrobatic, diving catches of late.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I saw myself fumbling easy catches and looking clumsy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Robinson is also a fighter for the ball, and his catches are team boosters.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Keeper Nicky Roberts - who had a good game otherwise - misjudged the catch and the ball hopped tamely and agonisingly over the goal line.’
    • ‘Cork's Nicholas Murphy won seven of those kick-outs, including four clean catches.’
    • ‘They all allowed a high ball to bounce when they could have made the 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He also is a skilled receiver who is productive running with the ball after making a catch.’
    1. 1.1 An amount of fish caught.
      ‘a record catch of 6.9 billion pounds of 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.’
      • ‘Fish stocks and catches are up, and they have the bonus of jobs and diving tourism income.’
      • ‘He claimed to have evidence of widespread fraudulent reporting of fish catches, falsification of logbooks and illegal fishing in closed areas.’
      • ‘At home catches of white fish have been poor over the last couple of weeks.’
      • ‘It states that there are no quotas in force limiting catches and sustainable fishing levels need to be investigated as a matter of urgency.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most of the white fish boats continuing to fish herring with catches varying from good some days to poor other days.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many stillwater fisheries continue to report good catches.’
      • ‘Kevin Whincup also advises that a recent consignment of roach into the front pond should see catches continuing through winter.’
      • ‘These good catches indicate that there are large numbers of fish passing through every day.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Winners were Paul Little and Isaac Miller with a fantastic catch, given the conditions, of 12 for 30 lb 9oz.’
      • ‘Some stretches are very well stocked and if you're on fish, multiple catches are common.’
      • ‘Our local fishermen are getting reasonable catches of prawns and little fish.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘She would be a particularly impressive catch.’
      • ‘All in all he just wasn't a particularly good catch.’
      • ‘The Shopkeeper was aware that Carl would be considered a good catch for any girl in town.’
      • ‘It is, in part, this ease that makes you a catch for potential partners.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Under the lip of the removable cushioned seat she had found a small catch, rusty enough to break two nails.’
    • ‘I walked into school, went to my locker, and lifted up on the catch without spinning my combination.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There weren't any zippers, buttons or catches he could find, so it was just a matter of trial and error.’
    • ‘He flicked the catch open and eased the door open a few inches.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After cleaning myself I noticed the window catch was off.’
    • ‘The catch snapped and the window released slightly.’
    • ‘The hall was empty, and he pulled his head back and closed the door, sliding the chain from the catch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Running her arms along the upper ridge of the crate, her fingers hit a catch in the wood, and immediately the door released.’
    • ‘Mark and Rebecca stood, and the three of them hurried over to the windows, searching for levers or catches to pull them open.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Skillfully, she unlatched the catch and opened the door, allowing Edward and James to enter.’
    • ‘He smiled at her, as she undid the catch, and opened the huge wooden door.’
    • ‘Chris stepped on a catch and the floor slid away, causing both Jade and Chris to tumble down into the pit.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘Just here, the beach is all yours… though there's one catch.’
    • ‘Jared was too methodical, never one to take action without looking out for the 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.’
    • ‘My eyes danced about the surface of the coupon, examining each word for hidden meaning, hidden catches, and hidden insight into life itself.’
    • ‘The catch is that contestants here, apparently not satisfied with simply voting someone off the island, actually try to kill one another.’
    • ‘But it has a catch; not running correctly can result in painful cramps, sore muscles and maybe broken bones.’
    • ‘Before you apply for any new savings account, check the terms and conditions for any catches or restrictions.’
    • ‘The catch, and there had to be one, is that taxpayers will have to pay back the full cost, with interest, over 30 years.’
    • ‘The hidden catch here is that in this case, this rule was violated.’
    • ‘The project was today welcomed by teenage pregnancy support groups who said there ‘really is no catch.’’
    • ‘Then, to my horror, I discovered there was a catch: You could only use your copy of this font with a single printer!’
    • ‘At The Bull Hotel on Tuesday, the programme makers reassured residents there were no hidden catches.’
    • ‘The girl looked up at her, too satisfied to care if there were any kind of 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
  • 4in singular An unevenness in a person's voice caused by emotion.

    ‘there was a catch in Anne's voice’
    • ‘But Jay heard the catch in her voice, and pulled away, searching her face.’
    • ‘Her response was simple, but he heard the catch of her voice.’
    • ‘There was a catch in her voice, and Eric saw that she was fighting to keep from crying.’
    • ‘Sinjun didn't fail to notice the slight catch in her voice.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘Karen told them in a scolding tone, but there was a catch in her voice.’
    • ‘Her father had told her, often with a catch in his voice, that her mother had died giving her birth.’
    • ‘The catch in her voice made him feel even worse for having to explain it again.’
    • ‘There was a little catch in Brian's voice when he responded after a long silence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Despite his attempt at nonchalance, Jason noticed the catch in his voice immediately.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was a catch in Alex's voice as he crushed Vivienne to him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At other times, he gives his voice just the right catch to sell a subtle moment.’
    tremor, unevenness, shake, shakiness, quiver, quivering, wobble
    View synonyms
  • 5Music
    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 hidden words that popped out as the catch was sung were often comic or off-color.’
    • ‘The catch, a particular form of round based on word-play, was especially popular in Restoration England.’
    • ‘The best catches combine magnificent musical composition with intricate and inventive poetry.’
    • ‘A Catch or Round of the best type of Elizabethan times consisted of one melody, generally perfectly continuous.’

Phrases

  • 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?’
      • ‘Her attention was swayed as a beautiful blue vase caught her eye.’
      • ‘Nobody is going to pay attention to your online store unless something catches their eye.’
      • ‘Hop on and off all day long, stopping to see the attractions that catch your eye.’
      • ‘It was the notice about the Italian Cookery School that caught my eye.’
      • ‘In addition to his general argument I'd draw attention to two other stories 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.’
      • ‘But it was Jessica who caught their eye with her poise and confidence.’
      • ‘Groups of people were browsing their way through the many beer tents trying whatever caught their 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.’
    • 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.’
      • ‘Floyd caught my eye for a moment and winked before turning his attention back to Katie.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I looked up to see what he was talking about and caught Tim 's eye.’
      • ‘I looked at him hoping to catch his eye but he looked past me without really noticing.’
      • ‘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 tried to catch his eye, but, although he noticed me, he seemed uninterested in even acknowledging me, let alone starting in conversation.’
  • catch it

    • informal Be punished or told off.

      • ‘They ran out of trolleys that night, and I caught hell from Mr Norton.’
      • ‘They bought the cheap labor mantra like it was religion and are now catching hell.’
      • ‘Dave already has caught hell, and lots of it.’
      • ‘It's because somewhere, they broke a rule they didn't know about and caught hell for it.’
      • ‘The next day I really caught it from my so called buddies about taking her to the dance.’
      • ‘And when you're catching hell from both sides, as Brian indicated, you must be doing something right.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lately I've been spending too much time in your bars, coming home all hours of the morning and catching hell from my girlfriend.’
      • ‘Some state coordinators are still catching hell for the choices they made.’
      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.

      • ‘Try a healthy dose of illumination for your eyes with discreet, shimmery pigments that catch the light and radiate a heart-stopping, soft glow.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Our swords flashed through the air, catching the light.’
      • ‘When she turned away, her earrings caught the light.’
      • ‘Its shimmering texture caught the light perfectly.’
      • ‘Her spectacles caught the light from somewhere and glimmered under the straight blonde of her hair.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her necklace caught the light and shimmered against her skin.’
      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.

      • ‘I was sitting here feeling very sorry for myself, when I caught sight of your photo.’
      • ‘Instead, we caught sight of this stall selling all sorts of fried items.’
      • ‘On the second floor, walking passed a group of unruly grade eights, I caught sight of soft blonde hair.’
      • ‘The Doctor catches sight of himself in the mirror.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Catching sight of the black girls, she stared.’
      • ‘Kiara caught sight of a familiar face, turning in surprise to see Justin.’
      • ‘He ran back to the group and Sarah caught sight of him.’
      • ‘Hoping to catch sight of him, she frequented performances of his plays.’
      • ‘She opened her mouth to reply but first caught sight of my bedside clock.’
      • ‘Returning, I caught sight of a whitetip reef shark resting on the sand.’
      • ‘For the first time in ages I caught sight of The Independent.’
      • ‘Her eyes then caught sight of an empty milk carton.’
      • ‘I caught sight of an accident on my way to work today.’
      • ‘Then he stopped short as he caught sight of David standing on his bottom step.’
      • ‘Looking around in the darkness, Kirby caught sight of someone moving in the trees at the opposite end of the beach.’
      • ‘Pixel narrowed her eyes and caught sight of the target.’
      • ‘Catching sight of herself in the warmly lit mirror, she pulled a face.’
      • ‘Fans and reporters scramble to catch sight of Jackson.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Well, you wouldn't catch me behind the stick of one of those things.’
      • ‘Oh no, you wouldn't catch me doing that, guv'nor…’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can assure you, though, that you wouldn't catch me sitting on a dock of a bay this particular shade of rust.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Goodness me, you wouldn't catch me out there in the early mornings with hair in curlers and a shovel under my arm.’
      • ‘Nowadays you wouldn't catch me in the sea without at least a wetsuit, if not a drysuit.’
      • ‘But you wouldn't catch me staring into his eyes.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • catch on

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

      ‘his music never caught on in the South’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the idea doesn't seem to be catching on very fast.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But there are others who vouch for the success, saying the trend has really caught on.’
      • ‘Christmas markets are popular in Europe and have recently begun to catch on in Britain’
      • ‘Halloween's still an American tradition though catching on here fast.’
      • ‘Australia's geographic isolation plays a big part in why the practice has caught on.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He bent his head down and began kissing my neck and I finally caught on to what he was about to do.’
      • ‘Although I must admit, you catch on faster than anyone I have ever known.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Kyle nodded slowly, catching my gaze to see if I'd caught on to the line of questioning.’
      • ‘Taylor came into the conversation late but quickly caught on to the discussion.’
      • ‘He's exceptionally smart; he catches on very quickly, and is already learning how to read.’
      understand, comprehend, learn, realize
      View synonyms
  • catch up

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

      draw level, draw level with
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Do work or other tasks that one should have done earlier.
        ‘he normally used the afternoons to catch up on paperwork’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Oh, and there's a backlog of domestic and business stuff to catch up on.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Work is settling down though I still have quite a few things to catch up on after the trip.’
        • ‘Monday saw me back at work; I hit the ground running as there was quite a bit to catch up on.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘I sat down after dinner to catch up on correspondence but found my eyes drooping almost immediately.’
        • ‘Public holidays are when I catch up on household chores and visit my ailing parents.’
        • ‘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’
      • ‘He flashed a smile when Matt caught up with him and began walking again.’
      • ‘The twins had caught up with their younger sister, and both of them began to speak at once.’
      • ‘I shook my head slightly at those thoughts and jogged a little faster, catching up with Matt and Liz ahead.’
      • ‘They had actually reached the car when he caught up with them.’
      • ‘She managed to catch up with him and grab the bike, then began calling out for help.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I felt myself begin to quicken my pace to catch up with my boyfriend.’
      • ‘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.’
    • 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’
      • ‘It was great having a chance to catch up with you over lunch today.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pat said the evening was a chance to catch up with old friends and was thoroughly enjoyable.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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 to get the chance to catch up with each other.’
      • ‘Last month I had a chance to catch up with Matt and discuss the book.’
    • 3Begin to have a damaging effect on.

      ‘the physical exertions began to catch up with Sue’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My patient's unhealthy lifestyle began to catch up with him peripheral vascular disease, a stroke, and then angina.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They began sparring again, but Kristy soon found that her lack of proper amounts of sleep was beginning to catch up with her.’
      • ‘Vinnie Roe is a wonderfully brave horse but old age is catching up with him.’
      • ‘All these days and nights without sleep were beginning to catch up with him.’
  • 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 Christmas shopping phenomena has begun and I really do not want to get caught up in that again.’
      • ‘Did I intend to get caught up in some weird drama with a bunch of people I don't know?’
      • ‘My Uncle Victor got caught up in the civil war in Nicaragua whilst on a cycling tour of Central America.’
      • ‘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 holiday season is upon us and there's no reason to get caught up in all the madness that is mall shopping.’
      • ‘Why do so many investors get caught up in small speculative companies?’
      • ‘There are some things that you got caught up in then that you might have regrets about now.’
      • ‘Any of us could have been in the shops on the street on Friday and been caught up in what happened.’
      • ‘Let's just watch wrestling and stop getting caught up in all this debate!’
      • ‘What if, like so many others, I was caught up in this terrible tangle of lives that led nowhere?’

Origin

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’.

Pronunciation