noun (1)
catch·​up | \ ˈke-chəp, ˈka-\

less common spelling of

: a seasoned pureed condiment usually made from tomatoes


\ ˈkach-ˌəp, ˈkech-\

Definition of catch-up (Entry 2 of 4)

: intended to catch up to a theoretical norm or a competitor's accomplishments


noun (2)

Definition of catch-up (Entry 3 of 4)

: the act or fact of catching up or trying to catch up (as with a norm or competitor) had to play catch-up also : an increase intended to achieve catch-up

catch up


Definition of catch up (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to pick up often abruptly the thief caught the purse up and ran
b : ensnare, entangle education has been caught up in a stultifying mythology— N. M. Pusey
c : enthrall the … public was caught up in the car's magic— D. A. Jedlicka
2 : to provide with the latest information catch me up on the news

intransitive verb

1a : to travel fast enough to overtake an advance party The soldier ran to catch up with his unit.
b : to reach a state of parity (see parity sense 1) or of being able to cope students who miss class have difficulty catching up
2 : to bring about arrest for illicit activities the police caught up with the thieves
3a : to complete or compensate (see compensate sense 1) for something belatedly catch up on lost sleep
b : to acquire belated information catch up on the news

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Synonyms & Antonyms for catchup

Synonyms: Verb

enmesh (also immesh), ensnare, ensnarl, entangle, entoil, entrap, mesh, net, snare, tangle, trap

Antonyms: Verb

disentangle, untangle

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Examples of catchup in a Sentence


a young idealist who got caught up in the political fanaticism of the times completely caught up in opera ever since he saw La Traviata

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Seattle had a run-to-pass ratio of 23 to 16 before passing on its final 11 plays of the game in an ultimately futile effort to catch up. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "As Seahawks head into offseason, futures of Frank Clark, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner take center stage," 7 Jan. 2019 Those caught up on season three will know that there's a game, Griffins and Gargoyles, that's taking control of Riverdale. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About the "Riverdale" Season 3 Flashback Episode," 19 Oct. 2018 With more than 10,000 episodes available, CBS All Access gives users the chance to catch up on all of their other favorite series (hello, NCIS). Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "How to Watch 'Blue Bloods' Online So You Can Get Your Tom Selleck Fix Any Day of the Week," 14 Sep. 2018 Their greyish-blue features come from trace particles of boron, comparatively less rare than diamonds, caught up within these bonds. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Hope Diamond Formed At The Bottom of The Ocean," 2 Aug. 2018 The rivals have since caught up, but the new Ram, thoroughly overhauled for 2019 and now on sale, continues to innovate. Dan Frio, Edmunds, USA TODAY, "Full-size pickups: Edmunds rounds up the latest news on five 2019 models," 6 July 2018 In this video, Mr. Kelly’s wife Dee alleges that he was caught up in a boardroom coup. Phred Dvorak, WSJ, "Carlos Ghosn Can Be Held in Jail Until Jan. 11, Tokyo Court Says," 31 Dec. 2018 Watch Glamour catch up with Davina Michelle and learn about her whirlwind year below. Jennifer Lance, Glamour, "Watch How Pink and Glamour Helped Change YouTuber Davina Michelle's Life with "You Sang My Song"," 27 Dec. 2018 So the Zambian government decided to focus on helping kids catch up. Meagan Neal, Vox, "It’s hard to design good policies. This simple idea can help governments do it.," 21 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catchup.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of catchup


1945, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1948, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for catchup


see catch entry 1

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Statistics for catchup

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Time Traveler for catchup

The first known use of catchup was in the 14th century

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More from Merriam-Webster on catchup

Spanish Central: Translation of catchup

Comments on catchup

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


a complex dispute or argument

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