catches; caught/ˈkɑːt/; catching catches; caught/ˈkɑːt/; catching
Learner's definition of CATCH
1 a : to use your hands to stop and hold (an object that is moving through the air)
Catch the ball and throw it to first base.
She caught the ball with one hand.
I dropped the book but managed to catch it before it hit the ground.
[no object] b [+ object] : to use your hands to grasp and hold onto (someone or something)
2 [+ object] : to capture and not allow (a person, animal, or fish) to escape
The police are working hard to catch the criminals and put them in jail.
“I bet you can't catch me!” she yelled to her brother.
I once caught 10 fish in a single day.
In the summer, we would catch fireflies and put them in jars.
catching mice in traps
lions catching their prey
3 a : to manage to find, meet, or reach (someone) at a particular time or in a particular state or condition b : to find (someone who is doing something wrong)
The police caught him trying to steal the painting.
My teacher caught me cheating on a test.
Her father caught her smoking in the basement.
You'd never catch me doing that! [=I would never do that]
They caught him in the act (of stealing the painting). = He was caught red-handed.
4 [+ object] : to affect (someone) in a sudden and surprising way
They were caught unprepared by the crisis. = The crisis caught them unawares. [=they were not prepared when the crisis occurred]
The announcement caught me by surprise. [=I was surprised by the announcement]
5 a : to suddenly stop (yourself) before you do something b : to suddenly become aware that you are doing something 6 [+ object] : to cause (someone) to be stopped, delayed, etc. — usually used as (be/get) caught
We got caught in a rain storm and had to find shelter.
I'm sorry I'm late. I was caught in traffic.
We got caught up in traffic and were late for our flight.
— see also caught up in 1 (below)
7 : to cause (something) to become stuck and unable to move
I caught my sleeve on a nail.
The kite got caught [=tangled] in the tree.
She tried to stand up, but her foot was caught in the strap.
8 [no object] : to have the parts connect firmly
9 a : to stop and hold (falling water) b : to become covered with (something that moves through the air)
10 a : to hit or touch (someone or something)
b : to be hit or touched by (something)
The bullet caught him in the leg.
His last punch caught me in the jaw.
Isn't it beautiful the way the setting sun catches the tips of the trees?
11 [+ object] : to become affected with (a sickness or disease)
We both caught [=contracted] the flu.
I seem to catch a cold every winter.
children catching colds from each other
◊ When people say that you will catch your death (of cold), they mean that you will become sick or catch a very bad cold.
12 [+ object] : to begin to feel excitement or interest about something 13 [+ object] : to attract and hold (someone's attention, interest, etc.)
I tried to catch the waiter's attention, but I guess he didn't see me.
The show is more likely to catch the interest of an older audience.
Her books have caught the imagination of children from around the world. [=children find her books very exciting and enjoyable]
◊ If someone or something catches your eye, you notice that person or thing.
14 [+ object] : to see, smell, or notice (something)
I caught [=got] a faint whiff of her perfume.
While you're in Hollywood, you might catch a glimpse of some movie stars.
I caught sight of his red shirt and started calling to him.
15 [+ object], informal : to hear or understand (something)
What was that again? I didn't quite catch [=hear, get] what you said.
I didn't catch your name.
Do you catch my drift? [=do you understand what I mean?]
16 [+ object] : to become aware of (something, such as an illness) 17 [+ object] : to have or do (something) 18 [+ object] : to get (something) through effort 19 [+ object], informal : to meet with (someone) 20 [+ object] : to move fast enough to be next to or in front of (someone) 21 [+ object] : to get on a bus, train, etc., before it leaves
If you miss the first bus, you can catch the next one in 15 minutes.
If you'll excuse me, I have a plane to catch.
22 [+ object] : to see or hear (a show, game, etc.) 23 [+ object] : to describe or show (someone or something) in an accurate way in art 24 [no object], baseball : to play the position of catcher
catch at[phrasal verb]
catch at (something)
: to reach for and try to hold (something)
or UScatch on fire : to begin to burn
Newspaper catches fire [=ignites] easily.
Their house caught fire and burned to the ground.
Don't leave the towel on the stove. It could catch fire.
2 : to become very popular or effective
The idea failed to catch fire.
The singer hasn't caught fire in this country yet.
a new technology that has caught fire with the public
catch itchiefly British, informal
: to be punished or scolded
catch lightning in a bottle
catch on[phrasal verb]
2 : to learn or understand something
Once you start playing the game, the kids will catch on pretty quickly.
It took her a while to catch on, but she eventually got the joke.
catch out[phrasal verb]
catch (someone) outchiefly British
: to show that (someone) does not know something or is doing something bad
catch up[phrasal verb]
1 : to move fast enough to join someone or something that is in front of you — often + with or to
— often used figuratively
Slow down so that I can catch up with you.
She ran as fast as she could, but she couldn't catch up with her brother. = (US) She couldn't catch up to him.
In order to catch up with its competitors in the industry, the company will need to start using more advanced technologies.
She missed several months of school and may never catch up with the other children in her class. = (US) She may never catch up to them.
2 : to learn about recent events — often + on 3 catch up on (something) : to do (something) that you could have done earlier 4 catch (someone) upBritish : to join someone who is ahead of you
He was ahead of me for most of the race, but I caught him up [=I caught up with him] at the end.
Go on ahead: I'll catch you up later.
catch up with (someone)
5 a : to begin to affect (someone) usually in a bad way b : to find and arrest (someone) c informal : to meet with (someone)
1 : not having enough of something 2 British, informal : having a sudden urge to use the toilet
caught up in
1 : involved in (a difficult or confusing situation)
— see also 1catch 6 (above)
2 : excited about something and having trouble thinking about anything else
— catchable/ˈkætʃəbəl, ˈkɛtʃəbəl/adjective
Learner's definition of CATCH
1 [count] : a hidden problem that makes something more complicated or difficult to do — usually singular
The phone only costs $20, but there's a catch: you have to sign a two-year contract with the phone company.
He said he would let me borrow his car, but I knew there had to be a catch.
What's/Where's the catch?
2 a [count] : the act of stopping a moving object (such as a ball) and holding it in your hands : the act of catching something b [noncount] : a game in which two or more people throw and catch a ball 3 [count] : an amount of fish that has been caught 4 [count], old-fashioned : a person who would be very desirable as a husband or wife 5 [count] : something that holds an object or stops the parts of an object from moving 6 [singular] : a short, sharp change or stop in a person's voice or breath while speaking