Thesaurus

catch

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of catch

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 to take physical control or possession of (something) suddenly or forcibly
  • we tried to catch the kitten before she could sneak out the door

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2 to become affected with (a disease or disorder)
  • you'll catch the flu for sure if you don't get a shot

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3 to bring (something) to a standstill
  • I caught myself just as I was about to step into the freshly poured concrete

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4 to put securely in place or in a desired position
  • caught back her hair with a barrette

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5 to have a clear idea of
  • I didn't catch the point you were making about our nation's foreign policy

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6 to cause to believe what is untrue
  • a number of media outlets were caught by the woman's hard-luck story

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7 to come upon face-to-face or as if face-to-face
  • I'll catch you at the library tomorrow

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8 to make note of (something) through the use of one's eyes
  • I looked out the window just in time to catch the neighbor's dog digging up my flower bed

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9 to move fast enough to get even with
  • despite the suspect's considerable lead, the fleet-footed police officer was able to catch him and make an arrest

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catch

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of catch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 a danger or difficulty that is hidden or not easily recognized
  • the catch is that you have to come up with the money by tomorrow

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2 someone or something unusually desirable
  • everyone thought the captain of the football team was a real catch

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3 the total amount collected or obtained especially at one time
  • the total catch for our day at the creek was six fish and a crab

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About catch

How does the verb catch contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of catch are bag, capture, ensnare, entrap, snare, and trap. While all these words 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

Where would bag be a reasonable alternative to catch?

The words bag and catch are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, bag implies shooting down a fleeing or distant prey.

bagged a brace of pheasants

When is capture a more appropriate choice than catch?

While the synonyms capture and catch are close in meaning, capture suggests taking by overcoming resistance or difficulty.

capture an enemy stronghold

How are the words entrap and ensnare related as synonyms of catch?

Both entrap and ensnare more often are figurative.

entrapped the witness with a trick question

a sting operation that ensnared burglars

How is trap related to other words for catch?

Trap, snare, entrap, and 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

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Time Traveler for catch

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Catch.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/catch. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on catch

Dictionary: Definition of catch

Nglish: Translation of catch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of catch for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about catch

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