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

His sketchy ways bring a drug dealer to the door and gets the Cooper girls caught up in a murder, which finally leads Alice to say enough and kick him out. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything That Happened On "Riverdale" Season 2," 8 Oct. 2018 But those emotions would catch up to me; the dam would break and I’d be left devastated with no idea how to cope. SELF, "How Intuitive Eating Helped Me Stop Counting Calories and Following Impossible Food Rules," 24 Aug. 2018 Of Uncle Eddy, whose chain-smoking had caught up with him in Florida. Longreads, "The Cold War and its Fallout," 16 June 2018 One of the product categories that still has some catching up to do? Bronzers. Shammara Lawrence, Allure, "12 Bronzers That Look Stunning on Dark Skin Tones," 5 June 2018 Until then, well, there's the school papers — and also catching up on the last few episodes of American Horror Story. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "Isan Elba on Balancing Her Golden Globe Ambassador Duties and Schoolwork," 16 Nov. 2018 The shares had fallen as much as 10% Monday, when bond markets were closed for Veterans Day, and bond prices are still catching up to the cumulative loss of over 30% in the stock since early October. Matt Wirz, WSJ, "GE Selling Spreads to Bond Markets," 13 Nov. 2018 In the meantime, either carry on as usual with an eye out for other signs things are amiss, or go bold and call to say hi and catch up. Carolyn Hax, The Seattle Times, "They’re retiring to their favorite place. Why is sibling silent?," 31 Oct. 2018 Opportunity has soldiered on for years since then, but was caught up in a global dust storm on Mars this summer. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Opportunity May Not Come Back Until January. NASA May Not Give It That Long.," 1 Sep. 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).


to make faulty or ineffective

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