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1. verb To see, and perhaps apprehend, someone in the act of doing something (often something nefarious). The robbers were arrested when the police caught them looting another house. I don't watch to catch you kids doing this ever again—the tool shed is far too dangerous to play in!
2. verb, slang To see or hear a specific program or event, typically as broadcast on the TV or radio. Did you catch the game last night? What a crazy ending!
3. verb To hear and/or understand something that has been said. I'm sorry, I didn't catch that last part. Can you repeat it?
4. verb To contract a contagious illness. All of my students are sick right now, so I'm not surprised that I've caught a cold, too. With the way you've been sneezing all day, I really hope I don't catch what you have!
5. verb To encounter or meet with someone, typically for the purpose of communicating with them. This usage often suggests that the person is busy or rushed, and therefore may have limited availability. Hey, I'm glad I caught you—how's your mom doing? Peg has to sign off on your expense report, so be sure to catch her before she leaves the office. I'll catch you later, man.
6. verb To receive a punishment or reprimand. The phrase "catch it" is usually used for this usage. If I get home past curfew again, I'm really going to catch it from my parents!
7. verb To notice a problem, error, or inconsistency, often one that is inconspicuous. Oh, Jen caught that spelling error—I never even noticed it.
8. verb To notice or detect something. Did you catch the joke at the beginning of the movie? It was pretty subtle. I opened the window and caught a whiff of dinner cooking next door.
9. verb In baseball or softball, to play the position of catcher. Joe is sick, so we need someone else to catch tonight.
10. verb To reach a mode of transportation before it departs. Of course we hit a major traffic jam when I have a plane to catch! Oh, she did catch the bus—the driver saw her running and waited for her.
11. verb To stop oneself from doing something. In this usage, "catch" is followed by a reflexive pronoun. Bill tripped over the step but managed to catch himself on the railing before falling. I almost asked about her boyfriend when I caught myself, remembering that they had broken up.
12. noun A game in which two or more people throw a ball back and forth between them. Now that the weather is nice, you boys should go outside and play catch.
13. noun A problem, drawback, or hidden detriment, often one that is initially concealed as a means of entrapment. I know this sounds like a great job offer, but there's a pretty big catch—I'd have to move across the country. Why are you selling this for so little? What's the catch?
14. noun An audible break or hesitation in one's voice (typically when one is very emotional). When I heard the catch in her voice, I knew my mom had bad news for me.
15. noun An amount of something that has been caught or captured, such as while fishing. A: "What was your catch today, boys?" B: "Not great, Earl—only five fish."
16. noun The identification or recognition of a problem, error, or inconsistency, often one that is inconspicuous. I never would have noticed that spelling error—good catch!
17. noun An ideal suitor or prospective mate. Tom's a good-looking guy with a six-figure income—he's a real catch!
catch (one) (doing something)
To find or see one in the act of doing something (often something nefarious). The detective was able to catch the robbers plotting their next scheme. I caught Tom stealing from the cash register.
To receive a punishment or reprimand. If I get home past curfew again, I'm really going to catch it from my parents!
Fig. to see or listen to something. I will try to catch that new movie this weekend. Did you catch that radio program about cancer last night?
to get into trouble and receive punishment. I know I'm going to catch it for denting mom's car when I get home. Bob hit Billy in the face. He really caught it from the teacher for that.
Also, get it. Receive a punishment or scolding, as in If I forget anything on the shopping list, I'll catch it, or I'm really going to get it when I turn in my paper late. [Colloquial; early 1800s]
ˈcatch it(British English) (American English catch ˈhell, ˈget it) (spoken) be punished or spoken to angrily about something: If your dad finds out you’ll really catch it!
1. n. a drawback. Okay, that sounds good, but what’s the catch?
2. tv. to view something; to attend something; to hear something. Did you catch Gone with the Wind on TV?
tv. to see or listen to something. (More specific than the colloquial sense, to manage to hear something.) Did you catch that radio program about cancer last night?
To receive a punishment or scolding.
- a cat in gloves catches no mice
- a Catch 22
- a catch to (something)
- a catch to it
- a catch-22 situation
- a shut mouth catches no flies
- a sprat to catch a mackerel
- cat in gloves catches no mice
- catch (a)hold of (someone or something)
- catch (on) fire
- catch (one) (doing something)
- catch (one) another time
- catch (one) at a bad time
- catch (one) bang to rights
- catch (one) by surprise
- catch (one) cold
- catch (one) dead to rights
- catch (one) flat-footed
- catch (one) in the act
- catch (one) later
- catch (one) napping
- catch (one) off (one's) guard
- catch (one) off balance
- catch (one) off guard
- catch (one) on the hop
- catch (one) on the raw
- catch (one) red-handed
- catch (one) with (one's) fingers in the till
- catch (one) with (one's) hand in the cookie jar
- catch (one) with (one's) hand in the till
- catch (one) with (one's) pants down
- catch (one) with (someone or something)
- catch (one's) breath
- catch (one's) death (of cold)
- catch (one's) drift
- catch (one's) eye
- catch (someone or something) in (something)
- catch (someone) red-handed, to
- catch (someone) some other time
- catch (someone) with his pants down, to
- catch (someone's) fancy
- catch (something) from (someone)
- catch (the) headlines
- catch a break
- catch a buzz
- catch a cold
- catch a crab
- catch a glimpse of (someone or something)
- catch a snooze
- catch a tan
- catch a Tartar
- catch a tiger by the tail
- catch a weasel asleep
- catch a whiff of (something)
- catch air
- catch as catch can
- catch at
- catch at (a) straw(s)
- catch at (something)
- catch at a bad time
- catch big air
- catch breath
- catch cold
- catch death
- catch dust
- catch eye
- catch fire
- catch flies
- catch forty winks
- catch from
- catch heat
- catch hell
- catch hell for (something)
- catch hold of
- catch in
- catch in the act
- catch it
- catch it in the neck
- catch lightning in a bottle
- Catch me later
- catch more flies with honey than vinegar, one can
- catch napping
- catch off guard
- catch on
- catch on with (one)
- catch one off
- catch one's breath
- catch one's death (of a cold), to
- catch one's death (of cold)
- catch onto
- catch onto (something)
- catch out
- catch red-handed
- catch sight of
- catch sight of (someone or something)
- catch some rays
- catch some shuteye
- catch some Zs
- catch some Z's
- catch somebody in the act
- catch somebody napping
- catch somebody off guard
- catch somebody on the hop
- catch somebody red-handed
- catch somebody with their pants down
- catch somebody's eye
- catch someone cold
- catch someone flat-footed
- catch someone napping
- catch someone off guard
- catch someone on the hop
- catch someone red-handed
- catch someone with their hand in the cookie jar
- catch someone with their pants down
- catch someone's eye
- catch something
- catch the devil
- catch the drift
- catch the eye
- catch the eye of (someone)
- catch the next wave
- catch the sun
- catch the wave
- catch to it
- catch up
- catch up in
- catch up in (something)
- catch up on
- catch up on (something)
- catch up to (something or someone)
- catch up with
- catch up with (someone)
- catch wind of (something)
- catch with
- catch with pants down
- catch you later
- catch you on the rebound
- catch your breath
- catch your death
- catch/get some Z's
- catch/get somebody's/the drift
- catch/get/grab/take hold of somebody/something
- catch/take somebody unawares
- catch/take/tickle somebody's fancy
- catch/touch somebody on the raw
- caught in the crunch
- couldn't catch a cold
- early bird catches the worm
- early bird catches the worm, the
- first catch your hare
- flat-footed, to be caught/catch
- get (one's) eye
- get eye Go to catch
- get hold of (one)
- get the drift
- get wind of
- grab (a)hold of (someone)
- grasp at straws, to
- have (someone) by the short hairs
- have someone bang to rights
- honey catches more flies than vinegar
- I didn't (quite) catch that
- I didn't (quite) catch that (last) remark
- I didn't catch that remark. and I didn't get that.; I didn't hear you
- I didn't catch the name, and I didn't catch your name
- I didn't catch your name
- I didn't get that
- I don't have time to catch my breath
- if (something) catches a cold, (something else) gets pneumonia
- if (something) sneezes, (something else) catches a cold
- if you run after two hares, you will catch neither
- I'll try to catch (one) later
- I'll try to catch (one) some other time
- it takes a thief to catch a thief
- it takes one to know one
- keep no more cats than can catch mice
- napping, to be caught/catch
- not let (someone) catch (one) (doing something)
- not let catch doing
- not want to catch (one) (doing something)
- off guard
- play catch-up
- Set a thief to catch a thief
- springes to catch woodcocks
- take (a)hold of (someone or something)
- take (one's) fancy
- take by surprise
- The early bird catches the worm
- tickle (one's) fancy
- time to catch (one's) breath
- time to catch breath
- touch (one) on the raw
- try to catch you some other time
- up with
- What’s the catch?
- What's the catch?
- when (something) catches a cold, (something else) gets pneumonia
- when (something) sneezes, (something else) catches a cold
- when A sneezes, B catches a cold
- when the US/UK/China, etc. sneezes, Japan/Germany, etc. catches cold
- whiff of
- you (can) catch more flies with honey than (with) vinegar
- You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar
- You must lose a fly to catch a trout
- you will catch more flies with honey than (with) vinegar
- you'll catch your death
- you'll catch your death (of cold)
- you'll catch your death of cold