noun, often attributive
catch·​all | \ ˈkach-ˌȯl , 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

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 For these companies, AI incorrectly has become a catchall phrase for anything that has to do with data or workflow. Arif Janmohamed, Fortune, "Most ‘AI’ Companies Are Not AI Companies. Here’s How to Tell," 3 July 2018 Administrative leave is the government’s catchall term for giving employees paid time off without charge to vacation time or another regular form of leave. Eric Yoder, Washington Post, "Federal government open Tuesday, but agencies encouraged to grant employees time off to view Capitals parade," 11 June 2018 Many of her pieces were intricately carved hearts that could be used as soap dishes, trivets or small catchalls for jewelry. Ruth Sowby Rands,, "On the Town: College’s ceramics sale raises funds for equipment," 4 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of catchall

1838, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about catchall

Statistics for catchall

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for catchall

The first known use of catchall was in 1838

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for catchall



English Language Learners Definition of catchall

: something that holds or includes many different things

More from Merriam-Webster on catchall

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with catchall

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for catchall

Comments on catchall

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


irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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