catch

verb
\ ˈkach How to pronounce catch (audio) , ˈkech\
caught\ ˈkȯt How to pronounce caught (audio) also  ˈkät \; catching

Definition of catch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : 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 He started to say the wrong thing but quickly caught himself.
f : to become suddenly aware of caught me looking at him
2a : to take hold of : seize He caught her by the arm as she tripped.
b : to affect suddenly The announcement caught me by surprise.
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
3 : to become affected by: such as
a : contract catch a cold
b : to respond sympathetically to the point of being imbued (see imbue sense 2) 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
4a : to take in and retain a barrel to catch rainwater
b : fasten catch back a curtain
5 : to take or get usually momentarily or quickly catch a glimpse of a friend catch a nap
6a : overtake catch the leader in a race
b : to get aboard in time catch the bus
7 : to attract and hold : arrest, engage caught their attention The glint of the gold in each case caught my eye, you see.— Arthur Conan Doyle
8 : to make contact with : strike The pitch caught him in the back.
9a : 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 The new portrait catches her likeness perfectly.
10a : see, watch catch a game on TV
b : to listen to caught the last part of the concert
11 : to serve as a catcher for in baseball caught both ends of the doubleheader
12 : to meet with catch you later

intransitive verb

1 : to grasp hastily or try to grasp
2 : to become caught The kite caught in the tree branches.
3 : to catch fire
4 : to play the position of catcher on a baseball team
5 : kick over the engine caught
catch a crab
: to fail to raise an oar clear of the water on recovery of a stroke
catch dead
: to find or see at any time used in strongly negative constructions wouldn't be caught dead in that shirt
catch fire
1 : to become ignited
2 : to become fired with enthusiasm
3 : to increase greatly in scope, popularity, interest, or effectiveness this stock has not caught fire—yetForbes
catch it
: to incur blame, reprimand, or punishment He'll really catch it from the boss if he's late again.
catch one's breath
: to rest long enough to restore normal breathing broadly : to rest after a period of intense activity

catch

noun

Definition of catch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something caught especially : the total quantity caught at one time a large catch of fish
2a : the act, action, or fact of catching The shortstop made a tough catch.
b : a game in which a ball is thrown and caught played catch with his dad
3 : something that checks or holds immovable a safety catch
4 : one worth catching especially as a spouse
5 : a round for three or more unaccompanied usually male voices often with suggestive or obscene lyrics
6 : fragment, snatch remembered only catches of the song
7 : a concealed difficulty or complication there must be a catch
8 : a momentary audible break in the voice or breath

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from catch

Verb

catchable \ ˈka-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce catchable (audio) , ˈke-​ \ adjective
an easily catchable fly ball

Synonyms & Antonyms for catch

Synonyms: Verb

bag, capture, collar, cop [slang], corral, get, glom, grab, grapple, hook, land, nab, nail, net, nobble [British slang], rap, seize, snag, snap (up), snare, snatch, trap

Synonyms: Noun

booby trap, catch-22, gimmick, gotcha, hitch, joker, land mine, pitfall, snag

Antonyms: Verb

miss

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for catch

Verb

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

Verb

catch, capture, and trap mean to get possession or control of by or as if by seizing. catch is used for the act of trying to seize something or someone that is moving or hiding. Catch that dog! capture is used when there is a struggle or some other kind of difficulty. Police officers captured the robbers as they tried to flee. trap is used when there is use of a device that catches and holds the prey. He made a living by trapping animals.

Examples of catch in a Sentence

Verb

Catch the ball and throw it to first base. She caught the ball with one hand. I dropped the book but managed to catch it before it hit the ground. I'll throw you the keys. Ready? Catch! He caught hold of her wrist. The police are working hard to catch the criminals and put them in jail. “I bet you can't catch me!” she yelled to her brother. I once caught 10 fish in a single day. In the summer, we would catch fireflies and put them in jars. I caught her just as she was leaving for work.

Noun

The shortstop made a tough catch. She used to play catch with her dad. Let's play a game of catch. a catch of about 20 fish
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To catch you up: Purdue Pharma is being sued by almost every state, and about half the states agreed to a settlement. Alex Connor, USA TODAY, "War with Iran? Trump would ‘like to avoid it’," 16 Sep. 2019 Like any new parent, Prince Harry is grateful for any opportunity to catch some z’s. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Everything Prince Harry Has Said About Fatherhood (So Far!): 'I’m Just Over the Moon'," 15 Sep. 2019 Be sure to catch all the action on the red carpet here, as well as on our Twitter and Facebook pages. Lauren Huff, EW.com, "Join EW live on the red carpet from NBC's Comedy Starts Here party," 17 Sep. 2019 Fire crews put an oil-absorbent line across Woods Creek to catch any leaking oil, and the state Department of Ecology was called to the scene, the fire district said. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Small bridge collapse in Snohomish County sends truck into river," 17 Sep. 2019 Having to catch the equivalent of 350 pounds in hatchery fish, which are smaller and lower quality, expends significantly more energy. Jim Robbins, New York Times, "How Long Before These Salmon Are Gone? ‘Maybe 20 Years’," 16 Sep. 2019 Sunday in the second quarter at Nashville, the lineman checked in as an extra blocker who was eligible to catch a pass. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: TD catch by cancer survivor Quessenberry tops Week 2 NFL-San Diego highlights," 16 Sep. 2019 But Caratini will move behind the plate Tuesday night to catch Yu Darvish for the 18th time this season. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Anthony Rizzo could miss the rest of the season with a Grade 2 lateral ankle sprain: ‘To miss any time right now sucks’," 16 Sep. 2019 Place the casserole dish on a baking sheet (to catch any drips), then place in the oven and bake until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Carrie Knauer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carrie’s Kitchen: Ready for fall? Try these ready-to-serve casserole recipes," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

When the Browns needed another offensive spark later in the third, Beckham made sure to bring his homecoming full-circle, punctuating his return with an 89-yard career-long touchdown catch-and-run to clinch Cleveland’s win. Alaa Abdeldaiem, SI.com, "Odell Beckham Jr. Recreates MetLife Magic in Browns Win Over Jets," 16 Sep. 2019 Both of Dissly’s touchdown catches came in the red zone. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers: 10 winners and losers," 16 Sep. 2019 Jonathan Davidson’s touchdown catch brought Fulshear with seven. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "FBISD notebook: Travis football rallies to remain undefeated," 16 Sep. 2019 More from Week 3: Donnell Adams Jr., Detroit Renaissance: Had a 45-yard rushing touchdown, a 42-yard touchdown catch, and a 60-yard score on a punt return in the 42-8 victory over Detroit Northwestern. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan high school football: Vote for offensive player of the week," 15 Sep. 2019 Kelce’s touchdown catch over safety Karl Joseph capped a five-play, 94-yard drive. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders blitzed by Chiefs in second quarter, lose 28-10," 15 Sep. 2019 Milton 33, Framingham 22 — Liam Regan reeled in touchdown catches of 79 and 28 yards from sophomore QB Chase Vaughn, senior Luke Botsford ripped off a 60-yard interception return and senior John Barros ran for TDs of 91 and 1 yards as the No. BostonGlobe.com, "“Watching [Braeden] last year, I was thinking I’d never be able to do that,” said Riley O’Connell. “To come out and do that . . . I didn’t have as nice of a throw, but it was a great catch by Taimir and a great catch by Griffin Brown (2 TDs in the first half). I wanted to get the win.”," 14 Sep. 2019 Pasadena quarterback Edward Norton threw one touchdown pass and receiver Dyllan Wright scored on a two-yard touchdown catch in its win. Vincent Nguyen, Glendale News-Press, "Weekly College Football Preview: Glendale Community College vs. Pasadena City College," 12 Sep. 2019 Philyor showed flashes last season, including a career-long 65-yard touchdown catch against then-No. Stefan Krajisnik, Indianapolis Star, "Healthy Whop Philyor sets his sights on Ohio State," 11 Sep. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of catch

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for catch

Verb

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 entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about catch

Statistics for catch

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for catch

The first known use of catch was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for catch

catch

verb

English Language Learners Definition of catch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

catch

noun

English Language Learners Definition of catch (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

catch

verb
\ ˈkach How to pronounce catch (audio) , ˈkech\
caught\ ˈkȯt \; catching

Kids Definition of catch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to capture and hold catch a ball catch fish
2 : to discover unexpectedly A policeman caught them breaking the window.
3 : to stop suddenly before doing something I caught myself before blurting out the secret.
4 : to take hold of As I was falling, Grandma caught my arm.
5 : to become affected by catch fire catch a cold
6 : to take or get briefly or quickly He caught a glimpse of the actor.
7 : to be in time for I'll catch the next bus.
8 : to grasp by the senses or the mind I didn't catch what you said.
9 : to play catcher on a baseball team
10 : to get tangled She caught her sleeve on a nail.
11 : to hold firmly : fasten The lock will not catch.
12 : to recover by resting I need to catch my breath.
catch on
1 : to realize something I finally caught on that he was teasing me.
2 : to become popular The new toy caught on quickly.
catch up
: to move or progress fast enough to join another

catch

noun

Kids Definition of catch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something caught : the amount caught at one time a large catch of fish
2 : the act of catching The shortstop made a great catch.
3 : a pastime in which a ball is thrown and caught
4 : something that checks, fastens, or holds immovable a catch on a door
5 : a hidden difficulty Dad got a raise, but there's a catch. He needs more training.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on catch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with catch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for catch

Spanish Central: Translation of catch

Nglish: Translation of catch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of catch for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about catch

Comments on catch

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

WORD OF THE DAY

friendly or mild

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!