catch as catch can


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catch as catch can

Done by any means or in any possible way, often haphazardly. The restaurant was so busy during dinner that getting service was catch as catch can. When you're a surgical intern, sleep is simply catch as catch can in between cases.
See also: can, catch

catch-as-catch-can

With, by, or having whatever is available; as best as or in any way possible. Any new parent can tell you that sleep is catch-as-catch-can once your baby is born. There was a period in college when I was out of work and had to live catch-as-catch-can.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

catch as catch can

By whatever means or in any way possible, as in There was no formal language program; one simply learned Spanish catch as catch can. This term, in slightly varying versions but with the same meaning, dates from the late 1300s.
See also: can, catch
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

catch as catch can

By any method that can be used; without any specific plan or order. Variants of this term go back as far as the fourteenth century (“Was none in sight but cacche who that cacche might,” John Gower, ca. 1394) and appeared in John Heywood’s 1546 collection of proverbs (“Catch that catch may”). More specifically, it is the name of both a children’s game and a style of wrestling (also called freestyle) in which the wrestlers may get a hold on each other anyhow and anywhere.
See also: can, catch
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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