Definition of catch-up in US English:



  • 1An instance of two or more people meeting to discuss what has happened since the last time they met or spoke.

    ‘it's the perfect destination for a coffee, some cake, and a catch-up’
  • 2An act of catching up or matching someone or something in a particular activity.

    as modifier ‘the country's catch-up phase of economic development’
    • ‘So I'm not so sure that that is exactly what's preventing the catch-up in the IT world.’
    • ‘This is not a good catch-up team, going against a defense that led the league with 49 takeways.’
    • ‘The rest are in catch-up mode, and for most October won't help them gain much ground.’
    • ‘Because of its deliberate offensive philosophy, State isn't a good catch-up team.’
    • ‘With the government's decision to stall capital spending, the game of catch-up will now be slowed.’
    • ‘Peterson has good catch-up quickness and is adept at reaching around receivers to slap the ball away.’
    • ‘He's decent at the line of scrimmage and has excellent catch-up speed.’
    • ‘Part of that was catch-up for reduced childbearing during the Depression and World War II.’
    • ‘Even so, she felt confident that with a few weeks of catch-up studying, she would overtake the rest of the student body in the tenth grade.’
    • ‘One filmmaker, however, pointed to other causes for the conservatives' game of cultural catch-up.’
    • ‘Just to even up his round though, Garcia did a little catch-up all of his own at the 17th hole, the lengthy par five which he proceeded to birdie.’
    • ‘Leeds United resume their game of catch-up at Manchester City tomorrow by chasing a place in the Premiership's top ten.’
    • ‘The Administration's development strategy endeavors to deal with these impediments to catch-up.’
    • ‘The gardener who misses a ride on the crest of this weather system risks a whole season of catch-up.’
    • ‘The catch-up for these countries will take a long time.’
    • ‘In regard to his play in the secondary, Poteat has some upside potential because of his quickness and catch-up speed.’
    • ‘But the catch-up faltered when Carlisle scored again for a 26-12 half-time lead.’
    • ‘As a result, he'll be in catch-up mode at training camp - and he might be limited to one practice a day.’
    • ‘So they get back in contact after the gap has become too worrying and suggest a nice friendly catch-up.’
    • ‘Other companies stood, slack-jawed, in admiration and played what seemed to be a never-ending game of catch-up.’


  • play catch-up

    • 1informal Fall behind continually with work or financial matters.

      ‘I'm always playing catch-up with my homework’
      • ‘We can't continue to play catch-up as we've been doing in Ireland for years.’
      • ‘And while they held all the cards previously, now they are on the back foot and continually forced to play catch-up, prompting the inevitable fall-outs and clash of personalities.’
      • ‘It seems like we're always behind trying to play catch-up on the equipment nowadays it's changing so quickly.’
    • 2informal Try to equal a competitor in a sport or game.

      • ‘Wireless technology is big in Japan and Europe, and at the moment, the United States is playing a little catch-up.’
      • ‘They realized they needed to play a bit of catch-up, and refocused and committed to the growing market.’
      • ‘We got behind in qualifying and had to play catch-up.’
      • ‘It's imperative, however, that they don't have to play constant catch-up.’