noun, often attributive
catch·​all | \ ˈkach-ˌȯl How to pronounce catchall (audio) , ˈkech-\

Definition of catchall

: something that holds or includes odds and ends or a wide variety of things a catchall tray dyspepsia is a catchall term for stomach discomfort

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

To make its case, the government is relying on the same catchall bribery charge prosecutors have used to put crooked politicians in prison. Jacob Gershman, WSJ, "At the Core of College Admissions Case: When Is Cheating a Crime?," 13 Mar. 2019 These questions are increasingly bound up in other kinds of identities, like religion and urban-versus-rural, with partisan identity serving as a kind of cultural catchall. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The strange argument that Democrats actually lost the midterms, debunked," 9 Nov. 2018 There’s just one problem: Like most culinary catchalls, nouvelle cuisine oversimplifies, emphasizing certain aspects of the trend while omitting the nuance and individuality that distinguishes any chef. Longreads, "“We All Had the Same Acid Flashback at the Same Time”: The New American Cuisine," 29 Mar. 2018 The gadgets can be disabled through reset buttons and changing a home’s Wi-Fi password, but their makers said there was no catchall fix. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, "Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse," 23 June 2018 Don’t Get Hung Up on Catchphrases Such as Streetwear or Hypebeast Streetwear as a catchall fashion term? Steff Yotka, Vogue, "A Runway That Reflects Our World: How 4 Brands Are Bringing Fashion to Life," 11 Oct. 2018 Bruce Applegate, who carries a variety of job titles but calls himself the city catchall, thinks the city has more to offer. Emily Strasser, Curbed, "A secret city opens up," 8 Aug. 2018 From my intimate point of view, library school is a bit of an academic catchall, sometimes a plan B, appealing to weirdos of many backgrounds. Alice Bolin, Longreads, "The Daughter as Detective," 26 June 2018 As news of the second imprisonment spread, angry ranchers — led by the Bundy family — and their allies converged in Burns, later rushing to a nearby wildlife refuge for a takeover that turned into a catchall protest against the federal government. New York Times, "How a Tycoon and Pence Friend Helped 2 Ranchers Get Pardons," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catchall.' 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 catchall

1838, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for catchall

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for catchall

The first known use of catchall was in 1838

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More Definitions for catchall



English Language Learners Definition of catchall

: something that holds or includes many different things

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