catch ( catches plural & 3rd person present) ( catching present participle) ( caught past tense & past participle )
1 verb If you catch a person or animal, you capture them after chasing them, or by using a trap, net, or other device.
Police say they are confident of catching the gunman... V n
Where did you catch the fish?... V n
I wondered if it was an animal caught in a trap. V-ed
2 verb If you catch an object that is moving through the air, you seize it with your hands.
I jumped up to catch a ball and fell over. V n
Catch is also a noun., n-count
He missed the catch and the match was lost.
3 verb If you catch a part of someone's body, you take or seize it with your hand, often in order to stop them going somewhere.
Liz caught his arm... V n
He knelt beside her and caught her hand in both of his... V n prep
Garrido caught her by the wrist. V n prep
4 verb If one thing catches another, it hits it accidentally or manages to hit it.
The stinging slap almost caught his face... V n
I may have caught him with my elbow but it was just an accident... V n with n
He caught her on the side of her head with his other fist. V n on n
5 verb If something catcheson or in an object or if an object catches something, it accidentally becomes attached to the object or stuck in it.
Her ankle caught on a root, and she almost lost her balance... V prep
A man caught his foot in the lawnmower. V n prep
6 verb When you catch a bus, train, or plane, you get on it in order to travel somewhere.
We were in plenty of time for Anthony to catch the ferry... V n
He caught a taxi to Harrods. V n prep
7 verb If you catch someone doing something wrong, you see or find them doing it.
He caught a youth breaking into a car... V n -ing
Three years ago my wife and I divorced. I caught her with her boss. V n prep
8 verb If you catchyourself doing something, especially something surprising, you suddenly become aware that you are doing it.
I caught myself feeling almost sorry for poor Mr Laurence. V pron-refl -ing
9 verb If you catch something or catch a glimpse of it, you notice it or manage to see it briefly.
As she turned back she caught the puzzled look on her mother's face... V n
He caught a glimpse of the man's face in a shop window. V n
10 verb If you catch something that someone has said, you manage to hear it.
I do not believe I caught your name... V n
The men out in the corridor were trying to catch what they said. V wh
11 verb If you catch a TV or radio programme or an event, you manage to see or listen to it.
Bill turns on the radio to catch the local news... V n
12 verb If you catch someone, you manage to contact or meet them to talk to them, especially when they are just about to go somewhere else.
I dialled Elizabeth's number thinking I might catch her before she left for work... V n
Hello, Dolph. Glad I caught you. V n
13 verb If something or someone catches you by surprise or at a bad time, you were not expecting them or do not feel able to deal with them.
She looked as if the photographer had caught her by surprise... V n prep
I'm sorry but I just cannot say anything. You've caught me at a bad time... V n prep
The sheer number of spectators has caught everyone unprepared. V n adj
14 verb If something catches your attention or your eye, you notice it or become interested in it.
My shoes caught his attention... V n
A quick movement across the aisle caught his eye. V n
15 v-passive If you are caught in a storm or other unpleasant situation, it happens when you cannot avoid its effects.
When he was fishing off the island he was caught in a storm and almost drowned... be/get V-ed prep
Visitors to the area were caught between police and the rioters. be/get V-ed prep
16 v-passive If you are caught between two alternatives or two people, you do not know which one to choose or follow.
The Jordanian leader is caught between both sides in the dispute... be V-ed between pl-n
She was caught between envy and admiration. be V-ed between pl-n
17 verb If you catch a cold or a disease, you become ill with it.
The more stress you are under, the more likely you are to catch a cold. V n
18 verb To catch liquids or small pieces that fall from somewhere means to collect them in a container.
...a specially designed breadboard with a tray to catch the crumbs. V n
19 verb If something catches the light or if the light catches it, it reflects the light and looks bright or shiny.
They saw the ship's guns, catching the light of the moon... V n
Often a fox goes across the road in front of me and I just catch it in the headlights. V n in n
20 n-count A catch on a window, door, or container is a device that fastens it.
She fiddled with the catch of her bag...
21 n-count A catch is a hidden problem or difficulty in a plan or an offer that seems surprisingly good.
The catch is that you work for your supper, and the food and accommodation can be very basic...
22 n-count When people have been fishing, their catch is the total number of fish that they have caught.
The catch included one fish over 18 pounds.
23 n-uncount Catch is a game in which children throw a ball to each other.
24 n-uncount Catch is a game in which one child chases other children and tries to touch or catch one of them.
26 You can say things such as `You wouldn't catch me doing that' to emphasize that you would never do a particular thing.
you wouldn't/won't catch me phrase PHR -ing, PHR prep/adv (emphasis)
You wouldn't catch me in there, I can tell you.
to catch your breath
to catch fire
to catch hold of something
to be caught short
to catch sight of something
sight catch on
1 phrasal verb If you catch onto something, you understand it, or realize that it is happening.
He got what he could out of me before I caught on to the kind of person he'd turned into... V P to n
Wait a minute! I'm beginning to catch on. V P
2 phrasal verb If something catches on, it becomes popular.
The idea has been around for ages without catching on. V P catch out phrasal verb To catch someone out means to cause them to make a mistake that reveals that they are lying about something, do not know something, or cannot do something.
Detectives followed him for months hoping to catch him out in some deception... V n P prep
The government has been caught out by the speed of events. V n P prep, Also V n P, V P n (not pron) catch up
1 phrasal verb If you catch upwith someone who is in front of you, you reach them by walking faster than they are walking.
I stopped and waited for her to catch up... V P
We caught up with the nuns. V P with n
2 phrasal verb To catch upwith someone means to reach the same standard, stage, or level that they have reached.
Most late developers will catch up with their friends... V P with n
John began the season better than me but I have fought to catch up... V P
During the evenings, the school is used by kids who want to catch up on English and mathematics. V P on/in n
3 phrasal verb If you catch upon an activity that you have not had much time to do recently, you spend time doing it.
I was catching up on a bit of reading. V P on/with n
4 phrasal verb If you catch up on friends who you have not seen for some time or on their lives, you talk to them and find out what has happened in their lives since you last talked together.
The ladies spent some time catching up on each other's health and families... V P on n
She plans to return to Dublin to catch up with the relatives she has not seen since she married. V P with n
5 phrasal verb If you are caught upin something, you are involved in it, usually unwillingly.
The people themselves weren't part of the conflict; they were just caught up in it... be V-ed P in n catch up with
1 phrasal verb When people catch up with someone who has done something wrong, they succeed in finding them in order to arrest or punish them.
The law caught up with him yesterday. V P P n
2 phrasal verb If something catches up with you, you are forced to deal with something unpleasant that happened or that you did in the past, which you have been able to avoid until now. Although he subsequently became a successful businessman, his criminal past caught up with him. V P P n
Catch-22 , Catch 22 If you describe a situation as a Catch-22, you mean it is an impossible situation because you cannot do one thing until you do another thing, but you cannot do the second thing until you do the first thing. n-sing oft N n
It's a Catch 22 situation here. Nobody wants to support you until you're successful, but without the support how can you ever be successful?
catch-all ( catch-alls plural )
in AM, also use catchall A catch-all is a term or category which includes many different things. n-count
Globalisation is a catch-all to describe increased international trade..., Indigestion is a catch-all term for any kind of stomach distress.
catch-phrase ( catch-phrases plural ) , catch phrase A catch-phrase is a sentence or phrase which becomes popular or well-known, often because it is frequently used by a famous person. n-count
safety catch ( safety catches plural ) The safety catch on a gun is a device that stops you firing the gun accidentally. n-count
Eddie slipped the safety catch on his automatic back into place.