noun (1)
\ ˈkās How to pronounce case (audio) \

Definition of case

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a set of circumstances or conditions is the statement true in all three cases
b(1) : a situation requiring investigation or action (as by the police) Her disappearance is a case for the police.
(2) : the object of investigation or consideration The child's case was turned over to state authorities.
2 : condition specifically : condition of body or mind
3 [Middle English cas, from Anglo-French, from Latin casus, translation of Greek ptōsis, literally, fall]
a : an inflectional form of a noun, pronoun, or adjective indicating its grammatical relation to other words the possessive case
b : such a relation whether indicated by inflection or not
4 : what actually exists or happens : fact thought he had failed, but that wasn't the case
5a : a suit or action in law or equity a criminal case a civil case
b(1) : the evidence supporting a conclusion or judgment
(2) : argument especially : a convincing argument makes a good case for adopting the proposal
6a : an instance of disease or injury a case of pneumonia also : patient Dr. Berg's cases
b : an instance that directs attention to a situation or exhibits it in action : example
c : a peculiar person : character The gangsters were hard cases.
7 : oneself considered as an object of harassment or criticism get off my case
in any case
: without regard to or in spite of other considerations : whatever else is done or is the case war is inevitable in any case in any case the report will be made public next month
in case
: as a precaution took an umbrella, just in case
in case of
: in the event of in case of trouble, yell


noun (2)

Definition of case (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a box or receptacle for holding something a display case in a museum
b : a box together with its contents a case of beer
c : set specifically : pair a case of pistols
2a : an outer covering or housing a pastry case
b : a tube into which the components of a round of ammunition are loaded
3 : a divided tray for holding printing type
4 : the frame of a door or window : casing


cased; casing

Definition of case (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to enclose in or cover with or as if with a case : encase cased his coin collection
2 : to line (something, such as a well) with supporting material (such as metal pipe)
3 : to inspect or study especially with intent to rob cased the bank before the robbery

Synonyms for case

Synonyms: Noun (1)

Synonyms: Noun (2)

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Choose the Right Synonym for case

Noun (1)

instance, case, illustration, example, sample, specimen mean something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category. instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain. an instance of history repeating itself case is used to direct attention to a real or assumed occurrence or situation that is to be considered, studied, or dealt with. a case of mistaken identity illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement. a telling illustration of Murphy's Law example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case. a typical example of bureaucratic waste sample implies a part or unit taken at random from a larger whole and so presumed to be typical of its qualities. show us a sample of your work specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available. one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art

First Known Use of case

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for case

Noun (1)

Middle English cas, from Anglo-French, from Latin casus fall, chance, from cadere to fall — more at chance

Noun (2)

Middle English cas, from Anglo-French case, chase, from Latin capsa chest, case, probably from capere to take — more at heave entry 1

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Cite this Entry

“Case.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for case


\ ˈkās How to pronounce case (audio) \

Kids Definition of case

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a particular instance, situation, or example a case of injustice
2 : a situation or an object that calls for investigation or action (as by the police)
3 : a question to be settled in a court of law
4 : a form of a noun, pronoun, or adjective showing its grammatical relation to other words The word "child's" in "the child's toy" is in the possessive case.
5 : the actual situation I was called greedy, but that is not the case.
6 : a convincing argument A case could be made for promoting her.
7 : an instance of disease, injury, or discomfort a case of chicken pox
in any case
: no matter what has happened or been said He couldn't find the keys and in any case there was no gas in the car.
in case
: for the purpose of being ready for something that might happen Take an umbrella in case it rains.



Kids Definition of case (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a container (as a box) for holding something
2 : a box and its contents a case of books
3 : an outer covering


\ ˈkās How to pronounce case (audio) \

Medical Definition of case

1 : the circumstances and situation of a particular person or group
2a : an instance of disease or injury 10 cases of pneumonia



Legal Definition of case

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a civil or criminal suit or action the judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this ConstitutionU.S. Constitution art. III — see also controversy, small tax case
case at bar
: a case being considered by the court the facts of the case at bar
case of first impression
: a case that presents an issue or question never before decided or considered by the court
companion case
: a case that is heard with another case because it involves similar or related questions of law
test case
1 : a representative case whose outcome will serve as precedent for future cases and especially for pending cases involving similar or related issues or circumstances and often some of the same parties

Note: A test case is selected from a number of cases in order to avoid a flood of litigation. All of the parties to the cases must agree to accept the outcome of the test case as binding.

2 : a proceeding usually in the form of a suit for injunction brought to obtain a decision as to the constitutionality of a statute
b : the reported facts, procedural history, and especially decision in an action
landmark case
: a case that marks a significant turning point on a particular issue
leading case
: a case so well reasoned and important in the rules of law determined and in the principles declared that it becomes well-known and is frequently cited by courts and lawyers as settling the points of law ruled upon and as useful in resolving new questions of law
c : the evidence and arguments presented by a party in court — see also case stated
case in chief
: the main part of a party's case including arguments for which the party bears the burden of proof but not including rebuttal
prima facie case
: a case established by evidence that is sufficient to raise a presumption of fact or establish the fact in question unless rebutted
2 : trespass on the case at trespass


transitive verb
cased; casing

Legal Definition of case (Entry 2 of 2)

: to inspect or study with intent to rob casing a store

History and Etymology for case


Latin casus accident, event, set of circumstances, literally, act of falling

More from Merriam-Webster on case

Nglish: Translation of case for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of case for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about case


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