1 of 4

noun (1)

catch·​up ˈke-chəp How to pronounce catchup (audio) ˈka- How to pronounce catchup (audio)

less common spelling of ketchup

: a seasoned pureed condiment usually made from tomatoes


2 of 4


ˈkach-ˌəp How to pronounce catch-up (audio)
: intended to catch up to a theoretical norm or a competitor's accomplishments


3 of 4

noun (2)

: 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

4 of 4


caught up; catching up; catches up

transitive verb

: to pick up often abruptly
the thief caught the purse up and ran
: ensnare, entangle
education has been caught up in a stultifying mythologyN. M. Pusey
: enthrall
the … public was caught up in the car's magicD. A. Jedlicka
: to provide with the latest information
catch me up on the news

intransitive verb

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

Examples of catchup in a Sentence

Verb 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
Read Jeremy Kahn’s portrayal of Nadella here, and Phil Wahba’s catch-up with McMillon here. Matthew Heimer, Fortune, 6 June 2024 The size of Italian families has also shrunk significantly over the past half-century, to the point where the average Italian household is now under 2.3 people, and that means fewer relatives to assemble for a weekly catch-up. Frank Bruni Laura May Todd, New York Times, 13 May 2024 That came as the major studios and streamers especially played production catch-up coming out of the pandemic to drive content to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV+. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 May 2024 The 2024 catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is $7,500 (up from $6,500 in 2023). Medora Lee, USA TODAY, 13 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for catchup 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'catchup.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



see catch entry 1

First Known Use


1879, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1885, in the meaning defined above


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near catchup

Cite this Entry

“Catchup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2

variant of ketchup

catch up

2 of 2 verb
: to pick up suddenly or quickly
caught the mouse up by the tail
: to go fast enough to get even with someone ahead
trying to catch up with the rest of the class
: to bring oneself up to date
have to catch up on my homework
catch up on the news
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