catch sight of (someone or something)

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catch sight of (someone or something)

To see someone or something very briefly or suddenly. Wendy only caught sight of the burglar for a second, so she couldn't describe his appearance to the police. I didn't know what the bunny was running from, until I caught sight of the dog that was chasing it.
See also: catch, of, sight
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

catch sight of someone or something

 and catch a glimpse of someone or something
to see someone or something briefly; to get a quick look at someone or something. I caught sight of the plane just before it flew out of sight. Ann caught a glimpse of the robber as he ran out of the bank.
See also: catch, of, sight
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

catch sight of

See suddenly or unexpectedly, as in When I first caught sight of the Alps, I was overwhelmed. [First half of 1800s]
See also: catch, of, sight
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.
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References in classic literature ?
When we had finished our prayers and viewed the spectacle, we turned in the direction of the city; and at that instant Polemarchus the son of Cephalus chanced to catch sight of us from a distance as we were starting on our way home, and told his servant to run and bid us wait for him.
It occurred to me that if old "Bless my soul--you don't say so" were to put his head up the companion and catch sight of us, he would think he was seeing double, or imagine himself come upon a scene of weird witchcraft; the strange captain having a quiet confabulation by the wheel with his own gray ghost.
Mr Elson, 45, from Somerset, said: "I'm sure the captain had a hard time keeping his plane upright, when all the passengers rushed to one side to catch sight of us."
"I'm sure the captain had a hard time keeping his plane upright, when all of his passengers rushed to one side of the plane to catch sight of us. "It was an amazing sight for us, particularly seeing so many friendly faces smiling at us after only having each other to stare at during the past 16 days." It provided a welcome diversion for the pair who are inching their way around the globe after comprehensively breaking the world balloon endurance record.