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verb, \ˈkach, ˈkech\

Simple Definition of catch

  • : to use your hands to stop and hold (an object that is moving through the air)

  • : to use your hands to grasp and hold onto (someone or something)

  • : to capture and not allow (a person, animal, or fish) to escape

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of catch

caught play \ˈkȯt also ˈkät\ catching

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to capture or seize especially after pursuit <catch a thief> b :  to take or entangle in or as if in a snare <catch fish in a net> c :  deceive d :  to discover unexpectedly :  find <caught in the act> e :  to check (oneself) suddenly or momentarily f :  to become suddenly aware of <caught me looking at him>

  3. 2 a :  to take hold of :  seize b :  to affect suddenly c :  to grasp and hold on to (something in motion) <catch a fly ball> d :  to avail oneself of :  take <caught the first opportunity to leave> e :  to obtain through effort :  get <catch a ride> f :  to overtake unexpectedly —usually used in the passive <was caught in a storm> g :  to get entangled <catch a sleeve on a nail>

  4. 3 :  to become affected by: as a :  contract <catch a cold> b :  to respond sympathetically to the point of being imbued with <catch the spirit of an occasion> c :  to be struck by <he caught a bullet in the leg> d :  to be subjected to :  receive <catch hell>

  5. 4 a :  to take in and retain <a barrel to catch rainwater> b :  fasten

  6. 5 :  to take or get usually momentarily or quickly <catch a glimpse of a friend> <catch a nap>

  7. 6 a :  overtake <catch the leader in a race> b :  to get aboard in time <catch the bus>

  8. 7 :  to attract and hold :  arrest, engage <caught my attention> <caught her eye>

  9. 8 :  to make contact with :  strike <the pitch caught him in the back>

  10. 9 a :  to grasp by the senses or the mind <you catch what I mean?> <didn't catch the name> b :  to apprehend and fix by artistic means <catch a person's likeness>

  11. 10 a :  see, watch <catch a game on TV> b :  to listen to

  12. 11 :  to serve as a catcher for in baseball

  13. 12 :  to meet with <catch you later>

  14. intransitive verb
  15. 1 :  to grasp hastily or try to grasp

  16. 2 :  to become caught

  17. 3 :  to catch fire

  18. 4 :  to play the position of catcher on a baseball team

  19. 5 :  kick over <the engine caught>

catchable play \ˈka-chə-bəl, ˈke-\ adjective
catch a crab
  1. :  to fail to raise an oar clear of the water on recovery of a stroke

catch dead
  1. :  to find or see at any time —used in strongly negative constructions <wouldn't be caught dead in that shirt>

catch fire
  1. 1 :  to become ignited

  2. 2 :  to become fired with enthusiasm

  3. 3 :  to increase greatly in scope, popularity, interest, or effectiveness <this stock has not caught fire—yet — Forbes>

catch it
  1. :  to incur blame, reprimand, or punishment <he'll really catch it from the boss if he's late again>

catch one's breath
  1. :  to rest long enough to restore normal breathing; broadly :  to rest after a period of intense activity

Examples of catch in a sentence

  1. Catch the ball and throw it to first base.

  2. She caught the ball with one hand.

  3. I dropped the book but managed to catch it before it hit the ground.

  4. I'll throw you the keys. Ready? Catch!

  5. He caught hold of her wrist.

  6. The police are working hard to catch the criminals and put them in jail.

  7. I bet you can't catch me! she yelled to her brother.

  8. I once caught 10 fish in a single day.

  9. In the summer, we would catch fireflies and put them in jars.

  10. I caught her just as she was leaving for work.

Origin of catch

Middle English cacchen, from Anglo-French cacher, chacher, chacer to hunt, from Vulgar Latin *captiare, alteration of Latin captare to chase, frequentative of capere to take — more at heave

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of catch

catch, capture, trap, snare, entrap, ensnare, bag mean to come to possess or control by or as if by seizing. catch implies the seizing of something in motion or in flight or in hiding <caught the dog as it ran by>. capture suggests taking by overcoming resistance or difficulty <capture an enemy stronghold>. trap, snare, entrap, ensnare imply seizing by some device that holds the one caught at the mercy of the captor. trap and snare apply more commonly to physical seizing <trap animals> <snared butterflies with a net>. entrap and ensnare more often are figurative <entrapped the witness with a trick question> <a sting operation that ensnared burglars>. bag implies shooting down a fleeing or distant prey <bagged a brace of pheasants>.




Simple Definition of catch

  • : a hidden problem that makes something more complicated or difficult to do

  • : the act of stopping a moving object (such as a ball) and holding it in your hands : the act of catching something

  • : a game in which two or more people throw and catch a ball

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of catch

  1. 1 :  something caught; especially :  the total quantity caught at one time <a large catch of fish>

  2. 2 a :  the act, action, or fact of catching b :  a game in which a ball is thrown and caught

  3. 3 :  something that checks or holds immovable <a safety catch>

  4. 4 :  one worth catching especially as a spouse

  5. 5 :  a round for three or more unaccompanied usually male voices often with suggestive or obscene lyrics

  6. 6 :  fragment, snatch

  7. 7 :  a concealed difficulty or complication <there must be a catch>

  8. 8 :  a momentary audible break in the voice or breath

Examples of catch in a sentence

  1. The shortstop made a tough catch.

  2. She used to play catch with her dad.

  3. Let's play a game of catch.

  4. a catch of about 20 fish

15th Century

First Known Use of catch

15th century

CATCH Defined for Kids



verb \ˈkach, ˈkech\

Definition of catch for Students

caught \ˈkȯt\catching

  1. 1 :  to capture and hold <catch a ball> <catch fish>

  2. 2 :  to discover unexpectedly <A policeman caught them breaking the window.>

  3. 3 :  to stop suddenly before doing something <I caught myself before blurting out the secret.>

  4. 4 :  to take hold of <As I was falling, Grandma caught my arm.>

  5. 5 :  to become affected by <catch fire> <catch a cold>

  6. 6 :  to take or get briefly or quickly <He caught a glimpse of the actor.>

  7. 7 :  to be in time for <I'll catch the next bus.>

  8. 8 :  to grasp by the senses or the mind <I didn't catch what you said.>

  9. 9 :  to play catcher on a baseball team

  10. 10 :  to get tangled <She caught her sleeve on a nail.>

  11. 11 :  to hold firmly :  fasten <The lock will not catch.>

  12. 12 :  to recover by resting <I need to catch my breath.>

catch on
  1. 1 :  to realize something <I finally caught on that he was teasing me.>

  2. 2 :  to become popular <The new toy caught on quickly.>

catch up
  1. :  to move or progress fast enough to join another




Definition of catch for Students

  1. 1 :  something caught :  the amount caught at one time <a large catch of fish>

  2. 2 :  the act of catching <The shortstop made a great catch.>

  3. 3 :  a pastime in which a ball is thrown and caught

  4. 4 :  something that checks, fastens, or holds immovable <a catch on a door>

  5. 5 :  a hidden difficulty <Dad got a raise, but there's a catch. He needs more training.>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up catch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

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