Definition of gotcha in US English:



  • I have got you (used to express satisfaction at having captured or defeated someone or uncovered their faults).

    • ‘A couple of death penalty opponents framing an innocent person just so they can say ‘Aha, gotcha!’’
    • ‘So you want the ultimate gag gift, the perfect way to say, ‘ha ha, gotcha, sucker!’’
    • ‘I found myself chuckling, as if she had just said something funny, or as if a friend we hadn't seen in a long time had just played a silly joke on us, ha ha, gotcha.’
    • ‘‘Okay - gotcha, twenty four,’ said Ron, repeating the hand signal to the lady to much all round nodding.’
    • ‘They change the number at random intervals and if you miss a sign, bingo - gotcha!’


North American
  • An instance of publicly tricking someone or exposing them to ridicule, especially by means of an elaborate deception.

    • ‘A depressing trend in cinema of late has been the gotcha!’
    • ‘Some of the commenters responding to Ann think the test is a typical bunch of manipulative rhetorical gotchas from people who think they know better.’
    • ‘But more importantly, traditional TV gotchas are the reverse of this.’
    • ‘Most of the gotchas are related to the geography and to the cultural difference…’
    • ‘So maybe he feels like the more he comes out there, it's just a game of gotcha, and they're just going to find something he says anyway.’
    • ‘It's an insidious game of gotcha that attempts to destroy the private lives of celebrities.’
    • ‘But the scheduling of the vote is also a way of Republican Party leaders playing gotcha with Democrats, forcing them to go on the record in time for the fall campaign.’
    • ‘And television, devoted to keeping the race close so viewers would keep watching, cunningly deployed a series of gotchas meant to drive down the numbers of whichever guy seemed to be gaining.’
    • ‘If so, it will disappoint a lot of people because I think lay persons tend to look at that as kind of piling on - kind of a game of gotcha.’
    • ‘Certainly Dionne, preoccupied as he is with his game of gotcha, makes no effort to refute it.’
    • ‘They're silly little gotchas, many of which don't even make any sense.’
    • ‘I thought there was a lack of zingers and, you know, the kind of gotchas that's sometimes characterize these debates.’
    • ‘The chorus of gotchas and the echoes of laughter I hear this morning are making my head hurt.’
    • ‘Stand provides a detailed rebuttal of the various claims (same url as before), but there are a couple of gotchas that particularly interest us.’
    • ‘It's hard to say it's deliberate, but they're undefined, and you can't do that game of gotcha, saying, ah-ha, in 1986 you voted for such and such.’
    • ‘My point isn't the usual hypocrisy gotcha, though that's certainly worth pointing out.’
    • ‘‘This is not a game of gotcha,’ the senator said.’


1930s: representing a pronunciation.