How to use
Old North French
'to try to catch'
, from capere
past tense and past participle
take and hold
intransitive and transitive
to get hold of and stop an object such as a ball that is moving through the air
Stephen leapt up and caught the ball in one hand.
'Pass me that pen, would you?' 'Here you are. Catch!'
The kids were throwing and catching a frisbee down on the beach.
to suddenly take hold of someone or something with your hand
He caught her elbow to steady her.
caught hold of
my sleeve and pulled me back.
to stop someone after you have been chasing them and not let them get away
'You can't catch me!' she yelled, running away.
to find a criminal or enemy and stop them from escaping
State police have launched a massive operation to catch the murderer.
If you go back to the city you're bound to
see somebody doing something
to see someone doing something that they did not want you to know they were doing
catch somebody doing something
I caught him reading my private letters.
Gemma turned around and caught the stranger looking at her intently.
catch somebody in the act (of doing something)
catch someone while they are doing something illegal
The gang was caught in the act of unloading the cigarettes.
as he was doing something wrong
taking money from the cash register.
catch somebody at it
We knew he'd been cheating, but we'd never caught him at it before.
to get an infectious disease
Anton caught malaria in Mali, and nearly died.
Many young people are still ignorant about how HIV is caught.
catch something from/off somebody/something
Typhoid and cholera are often caught from contaminated water supplies.
I caught chicken pox off my friend at school.
catch your death (of cold)
get a very bad cold
Don't stand out in the rain. You'll catch your death.
catch somebody by surprise/catch somebody off guard
catch somebody napping/unawares
catch somebody on the hop
to do something or to happen when someone is not expecting it or prepared for it
Her question caught him off guard.
catch somebody with their pants/trousers down
to discover that someone is doing something that they should not be doing or has not done something that they should have done
He's not the first politician to be caught with his pants down, and he won't be the last.
to trap an animal or fish by using a trap, net, or hook, or by hunting it
Did you catch any fish?
Early settlers caught rabbits and squirrels and even rats in order to survive.
catch a train/plane/bus
to get on a train, plane etc in order to travel on it, or to be in time to get on a train, plane etc before it leaves
I caught the 7.15 train to London.
There's a train in now. If you run, you'll just catch it.
I have to hurry - I
not miss somebody/something
to not be too late to do something, see something, talk to someone etc
I managed to catch her just as she was leaving.
I just caught the last few minutes of the documentary.
Tumours like these can be treated quite easily if they're caught early enough.
catch the post
post letters in time for them to be collected that day
intransitive and transitive
if your hand, finger, clothing etc catches or is caught in something, it gets stuck in it accidentally
His overalls caught in the engine.
Her microphone was forever
on her clothes.
catch somebody's attention/interest/imagination etc
to make you notice something and feel interested in it
Lucie whistled sharply to catch the other girl's attention.
This is a story that will catch the imagination of every child.
not catch something
to not hear or understand what someone says
I'm afraid I didn't catch your name.
to manage to hear a sound
I caught the muffled thud of a car door slamming in the street.
catch you later
used to say goodbye
'I'll give you a call in a couple days.' 'Okay. Catch you later.'
especially American English
to go somewhere in order to do or see something
catch a movie
go to a movie
M Records caught his act and signed him immediately.
catch a ride
to go somewhere in someone else's car
I caught a ride as far as Columbus.
you won't catch me doing something
you won't catch me somewhere
used to say that you would never do something
I love dancing but you won't catch me being the first on the dance floor!
to be punished by someone such as a parent or teacher because you have done something wrong
You'll catch it if Dad finds out.
catch a glimpse of somebody/something
to see someone or something for a very short time
Fans waited for hours at the airport to catch a glimpse of their idol.
catch sight of somebody/something
to suddenly see someone or something that you have been looking for or have been hoping to see
I caught sight of her in the crowd.
to show or describe the character or quality of something well in a picture, piece of writing etc
a novel that catches the mood of post-war Britain
if something catches fire, it starts to burn accidentally
Two farm workers died when a barn caught fire.
if a fire catches, it starts to burn
For some reason the charcoal wasn't catching.
catch somebody's eye
to attract someone's attention and make them look at something
Out on the freeway, a billboard caught his eye.
to look at someone at the same moment that they are looking at you
Every time she caught his eye, she would glance away embarrassed.
catch yourself doing something
to suddenly realize you are doing something
Standing there listening to the song, he caught himself smiling from ear to ear.
to hit someone in or on a particular part of their body
The punch caught him right in the face.
be caught in/without etc something
to be in a situation that you cannot easily get out of or in which you do not have something you need
We got caught in a rainstorm on the way here.
Here's a useful tip if you're caught without a mirror.
catch your breath
to pause for a moment after a lot of physical effort in order to breathe normally again
Hang on a minute - let me catch my breath!
to stop breathing for a moment because something has surprised, frightened, or shocked you
to take some time to stop and think about what you will do next after having been very busy or active
It was an enforced absence from work, but at least it gave me a little time to catch my breath before the final push.
if a container catches liquid, it is in a position where the liquid falls into it
Place the baking sheet under the muffin pan to catch the drips.
if the light catches something or if something catches the light, the light shines on it
The sunlight caught her hair and turned it to gold.
catch the sun
if you catch the sun, your skin becomes red and sometimes sore because of the effects of sunlight
You've caught the sun on the back of your neck.
if something catches the wind or the wind catches something, it blows on it
Gary swung the sail round to catch the light wind.
to end a player's
by catching the ball that is hit off their
before it touches the ground
to be the
in a game of baseball
catch at something
to try to take hold of something
She caught at his arm, 'Hang on. I'm coming with you.'
to become popular and fashionable
The idea of glasses being a fashion item has been slow to catch on.
to begin to understand or realize something
catch on to
It was a long time before the police caught on to what he was really doing.
to make someone make a mistake, especially deliberately and in order to prove that they are lying
The interviewer may try to catch you out.
if something unexpected catches you out, it puts you in a difficult situation because you were not expecting it or not fully prepared for it
Even the best whitewater rafters get caught out by the fierce rapids here.
to improve and reach the same standard as other people in your class, group etc
If you miss a lot of classes, it's very difficult to catch up.
catch up with
At the moment our technology is more advanced, but other countries are catching up with us.
to come from behind and reach someone in front of you by going faster
catch up with
Drive faster - they're catching up with us.
catch somebody up
You go on ahead. I'll catch you up in a minute.
to do what needs to be done because you have not been able to do it until now
catch up on
I have some work to catch up on.
I need to
catch up on some sleep
after a period without enough sleep
to spend time finding out what has been happening while you have been away or during the time you have not seen someone
catch up on
When I got home I phoned Jo to catch up on all the gossip.
I'll leave you two alone - I'm sure you've got a lot of
be/get caught up in something
to be or get involved in something, especially something bad
I didn't want to get caught up in endless petty arguments.
catch up with somebody
to finally find someone who has been doing something illegal and punish them
It took six years for the law to catch up with them.
if something bad from the past catches up with you, you cannot avoid dealing with it any longer
At the end of the movie his murky
past catches up with
Definition of catch from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English within
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