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 he had got through with all his work, he lit the fire, and then caught sight of us, whereon he said:
Turning towards the door, he now caught sight of us. He was short, cadaverous, and withered, with his head sunk sideways between his shoulders and the breath issuing in visible smoke from his mouth as if he were on fire within.
"And so deadly was our appearance that the smaller craft of the enemy fled as soon as they caught sight of us, and even submarines hurriedly disappeared when they spotted us on the horizon.
Rather, many people who caught sight of us took out a camera or phone and snapped a photo.
She was midway through another set of introductions, but she caught sight of us heading out and interrupted her routine.
"At our first training session I caught sight of us in the mirror.