catch·​all ˈkach-ˌȯl How to pronounce catchall (audio)
variants or catch-all
plural catchalls or catch-alls
: something designed or serving to catch, hold, account for, or include miscellaneous items or a wide variety of things
The secret weapon for battling kitchen clutter in this case is a simple tray. … The trays act as catch-alls or places to neatly store anything that gets left out.Marie Rossiter
After a period of rapidly rising consumer prices, "inflation" is a catchall for economic woes.Edward Lotterman
often used before another noun
a catchall bin
… long COVID, the catchall term for the sometimes debilitating health problems that can last for months or years after even a mild case of COVID-19.Lauran Neergaard

Examples of catchall in a Sentence

They used the drawer as a catchall for kitchen items. “The arts” is a catchall for a variety of activities from painting to music.
Recent Examples on the Web One of the fastest-growing segments of the Academy is the members-at-large, a catchall group for agents, executives, stunt people, etc. Vulture, 29 Jan. 2024 Perhaps the most important role Samsung hopes Ballie will fill is that of a catchall home caretaker. Chris Velazco, Washington Post, 8 Jan. 2024 The new consensus has become known as neoliberalism, a word that in recent years has turned into a catchall epithet to describe the views of moderate Democrats and conservatives. David Leonhardt, New York Times, 17 Oct. 2023 This one—in white plus gold, black or silver—is equipped with a USB port and a storage catchall that can corral a fitness watch, earbuds and more. Lisa Lombardi,, 15 Sep. 2023 Powering the new Samsung Galaxy S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra is Galaxy AI, the catchall term for many of the new smart features debuting in the handsets. Julian Chokkattu, WIRED, 17 Jan. 2024 Everyone needs a catchall, Mary Poppins-type bag that’s easily grabbable and can hold just about anything. Kayla Blanton, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2023 In fact, as Afrobeats’ profile has grown, he’s bristled at broad catchall genre terms to characterize music from throughout Africa, arguing for less reductive treatment. Jon Dolan, Rolling Stone, 26 Oct. 2023 Only a handful of House Republicans voted for the money in that huge catchall spending measure, and most of them have since left Congress. Carl Hulse, New York Times, 10 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1827, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of catchall was in 1827

Dictionary Entries Near catchall

Cite this Entry

“Catchall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


catch·​all ˈkach-ˌȯl How to pronounce catchall (audio)
: something to hold a variety of odds and ends

More from Merriam-Webster on catchall

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