I UK [kætʃ] / US verb
Word forms "catch":
present tense I/you/we/they catch he/she/it catches present participle catching past tense caught UK [kɔːt] / US [kɔt] past participle caught
1) [intransitive/transitive] to stop and hold something that is moving through the air, especially an object that someone throws

She tossed the packet of crisps to Kate, who caught it with one hand.

"Can I borrow your pen?" "Here, catch!"

a) [transitive] to stop and keep hold of someone who is falling

Anne stayed close enough to catch the child if he fell.

b) catch or catch out
[transitive] British to end a cricketer's period of play by stopping and keeping hold of a ball they have hit before it touches the ground
c) [intransitive] to be the catcher in baseball
d) [transitive] if a container catches liquid or small objects or pieces, they fall into it when it is below them

Put a bucket over there to catch the drips as they fall.

a) [transitive] to get hold of and stop someone you have been chasing so that they cannot escape

She raced to catch the toddler before he could make it out of the front gate.

"Can't catch me," her brother shouted as he ran up the stairs.

b) to take hold of someone or a part of their body with your hands

Jack caught her as she made for the door.

catch someone by the wrist/elbow/sleeve etc:

With one swift movement, he caught her by the wrist.

catch hold of someone/something:

She caught hold of his arm and pulled him back.

3) [transitive] if the police catch someone, they find them and arrest them

The police say they're doing all they can to catch the culprits.

a) [transitive] to get on a train, bus, plane, or boat that is travelling somewhere

I caught the next train back to London.

b) to arrive in time to get on a train, bus, plane, or boat that is travelling somewhere

If we want to catch that bus we'll have to leave right now.

have a train/bus/plane etc to catch:

I have a train to catch, so we have to finish by 4.30.

5) [transitive] to stop an animal, bird, or insect and prevent it from escaping, especially using a trap

a device used for catching flies

We rescued a rabbit caught in a trap.

a) to hunt and stop an animal in order to kill and eat it

Wolves hunt in packs, using careful strategies to catch their prey.

b) to get a fish from a river, lake, or sea, using a fishing net or rod

Drift nets are used mainly for catching tuna.

freshly/locally caught:

freshly caught trout

6) [transitive] to find someone doing something that they do not expect you to see, especially something wrong or illegal
catch someone doing something:

Several times she'd caught him staring at her.

catch someone red-handed (= find someone doing something wrong or illegal):

Diana was caught red-handed taking money from her mother's purse.

catch someone in the act (of doing something):

Burglars who are caught in the act have little chance of escaping punishment.

catch someone at it:

They've been trying to catch her at it, but she's too clever.

7) [transitive] to find someone in a situation that they are not expecting or prepared for

The railway companies had all been caught completely unprepared by the sudden snowfalls.

catch someone at a bad moment/time:

I've obviously caught you at a bad moment. I'll come back later.

8) [transitive] to see or smell something for a very short time
catch a glimpse of someone/something:

People lined the streets outside the theatre to catch a glimpse of her.

catch sight of someone/something:

As she went out, she caught sight of herself in the mirror.

catch a whiff of something (= smell something):

Adam caught a whiff of expensive perfume as she passed by.

9) [transitive] to have a sudden effect on something such as someone's attention or imagination

Suddenly my attention was caught by a lorry parked a short distance ahead.

His campaign seems to have caught the imagination of many other Germans.

10) [transitive] to get a disease or illness

He caught the flu and had to stay in bed.

catch something from someone/something:

Brian caught chickenpox from his nephew.

catch your death (of cold) (= get a bad cold):

Get out of those wet clothes or you'll catch your death of cold.

11) [transitive, usually in negatives or questions] to hear something that someone says

The music was so loud I didn't catch what he said.

I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name.

12) [transitive] to find someone available to talk by going to or telephoning them at the place where they are

Call me at the office. You can usually catch me there after 8.30.

Margaret caught me just as I was leaving.

13) [transitive] to discover a problem or medical condition and stop it from becoming worse

Doctors assured her that her symptoms had been caught early enough to treat.

14) [transitive] informal to see, watch, or listen to something

Want to catch a film tonight?

15) [intransitive/transitive] to become stuck on something, or to make something do this

As she ran, her foot caught on something and she fell.

I must have caught my shirt on a nail when I was moving that wood.

16) [transitive] if light catches something, or if something catches the light, the light shines on it and makes it look bright and shiny

A fish in the river catches the light one second and swims off into a dark pool the next.

17) [transitive] if the wind or a wave catches something, it gets behind or under it and suddenly blows or pushes it hard

The balloon was caught by the wind and carried away.

a) [transitive] to hit someone on a part of their body

He caught his opponent with a right cross to the chin.

b) to hit part of your body on something by accident

Sue slipped in the yard and caught her head on the gate post.

19) [transitive] to show or represent something in a way that people can easily recognize

It wasn't a very radical or intellectual newspaper, but it caught a mood of dissent in mid-1950s America.

20) [intransitive/transitive] to start to burn

The dry twigs soon caught fire.

be caught with your pants/trousers downinformal to be embarrassed by something that happens because you are not prepared for it

be/get caught (up) in something — to become unexpectedly involved in an unpleasant or annoying situation

We were caught in a heavy storm.

Sorry I'm late – I got caught in traffic.

She got caught up in a clash between protesters and police.

you won't/wouldn't catch someone doing something — used for saying that it is very unlikely that someone will or would do something

You wouldn't catch me taking work home every night.

Phrasal verbs:
hop II, ray, rock I, short II

II UK [kætʃ] / US noun
Word forms "catch":
singular catch plural catches
1) [countable] an act of stopping and holding an object moving through the air, especially a ball

Well done! Good catch!

2) [countable] an amount of fish that have been caught

Catches of Scottish salmon have declined significantly.

3) [countable] an object used for fastening something such as a window, door, or container

a broken window catch

4) [countable, usually singular] a hidden problem or difficulty in something that seems extremely good

It sounds like a fabulous opportunity, so what's the catch?

5) [uncountable] a game in which children throw a ball to each other
6) [countable] informal old-fashioned someone who would be a very suitable husband, wife, or partner
7) [countable] mainly literary a sudden pause in what someone is saying as a result of a strong emotion

English dictionary. 2014.

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