glimpse

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catch a glimpse of (someone or something)

To see someone or something very briefly or suddenly. Wendy only caught a glimpse 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 a glimpse of the dog that was chasing it.
See also: catch, glimpse, of
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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