catch

When you catch something, you grasp it or seize it in your hands, the way you catch a basketball when your friend throws it to you.

As a verb, catch describes grabbing and holding on. Adding the preposition on means you understand something, like when you catch on to your little brother's scheme to get out of doing chores, or to describe something that's getting popular, like a pop song that catches on then becomes a huge hit. If someone tells you there's a catch, it means there is a complication, but if a person is a catch, he or she makes a good romantic partner.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: catch

1
vn
take hold of so as to seize or restrain or stop the motion of
the act of catching an object with the hands
2
v
discover or come upon accidentally, suddenly, or unexpectedly; catch somebody doing something or in a certain state
3
n
a drawback or difficulty that is not readily evident
4
v
spread or be communicated
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: catch
1

v take hold of so as to seize or restrain or stop the motion of

Catch the ball!”
Synonyms:
grab, take hold of
Types:
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harpoon
spear with a harpoon
fish
catch or try to catch fish or shellfish
hook
catch with a hook
net, nett
catch with a net
intercept, stop
seize on its way
crab
fish for crab
seine
fish with a seine; catch fish with a seine
scallop, scollop
fish for scallops
rail
fish with a handline over the rails of a boat
brail
haul fish aboard with brails
angle
fish with a hook
shrimp
fish for shrimp
net fish
fish with nets
shark
hunt shark
trawl
fish with trawlers
still-fish
fish with the line and bait resting still or stationary in the water
seize
hook by a pull on the line
prawn
fish for prawns
cut off, cut out
cut off and stop
Type of:
clutch, prehend, seize
take hold of; grab

v succeed in catching or seizing, especially after a chase

“Did you catch the thief?”
Synonyms:
capture, get
Types:
recapture, retake
capture again
lasso, rope
catch with a lasso
Type of:
clutch, prehend, seize
take hold of; grab

v capture as if by hunting, snaring, or trapping

“I caught a rabbit in the trap today”
Synonyms:
capture
Types:
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hunt, hunt down, run, track down
pursue for food or sport (as of wild animals)
frog
hunt frogs for food
bag
capture or kill, as in hunting
batfowl
catch birds by temporarily blinding them
rat
catch rats, especially with dogs
ensnare, entrap, snare, trammel, trap
catch in or as if in a trap
snipe
hunt or shoot snipe
whale
hunt for whales
ambush, still-hunt
hunt (quarry) by stalking and ambushing
turtle
hunt for turtles, especially as an occupation
drive
hunting: chase from cover into more open ground
drive
hunting: search for game
rabbit
hunt rabbits
fowl
hunt fowl in the forest
poach
hunt illegally
seal
hunt seals
ferret
hunt with ferrets
course
hunt with hounds
foxhunt
hunt foxes, on horseback and with dogs
jack, jacklight
hunt with a jacklight
hawk
hunt with hawks
falcon
hunt with falcons
fowl
hunt fowl
gin
trap with a snare
forage, scrounge
collect or look around for (food)
Type of:
acquire, get
come into the possession of something concrete or abstract

v attract; cause to be enamored

Synonyms:
becharm, beguile, bewitch, captivate, capture, charm, enamor, enamour, enchant, entrance, fascinate, trance
Types:
hold
hold the attention of
work
gratify and charm, usually in order to influence
Type of:
appeal, attract
be attractive to

v take in and retain

“We have a big barrel to catch the rainwater”
Synonyms
capture
capture as if by hunting, snaring, or trapping
Type of:
accumulate, amass, collect, compile, hoard, pile up, roll up
get or gather together

v get or regain something necessary, usually quickly or briefly

Catch some sleep”
catch one's breath”
Type of:
acquire, get
come into the possession of something concrete or abstract

v cause to become accidentally or suddenly caught, ensnared, or entangled

“I caught the hem of my dress in the brambles”
Synonyms
hitch
to hook or entangle

v delay or hold up; prevent from proceeding on schedule or as planned

“I was caught in traffic and missed the meeting”
Type of:
delay, detain, hold up
cause to be slowed down or delayed

v to hook or entangle

“One foot caught in the stirrup”
Synonyms:
hitch
Antonyms:
unhitch
unfasten or release from or as if from a hitch
Types:
snag
catch on a snag
Type of:
attach
cause to be attached

v attract and fix

“His look caught her”
“She caught his eye”
Catch the attention of the waiter”
Synonyms:
arrest, get
Type of:
attract, draw, draw in, pull, pull in
direct toward itself or oneself by means of some psychological power or physical attributes

v reach with a blow or hit in a particular spot

“the rock caught her in the back of the head”
“The punch caught him in the stomach”
Synonyms:
get
Type of:
hit
deal a blow to, either with the hand or with an instrument

v reach in time

“I have to catch a train at 7 o'clock”
Synonyms
catch up with, overtake
catch up with and possibly overtake
Types:
get
reach and board
Type of:
board, get on
get on board of (trains, buses, ships, aircraft, etc.)

v catch up with and possibly overtake

“The Rolls Royce caught us near the exit ramp”
Synonyms:
catch up with, overtake

v be struck or affected by

catch fire”
catch the mood”
Synonyms
get
suffer from the receipt of
Type of:
change
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

v start burning

“The fire caught
Type of:
catch fire, combust, conflagrate, erupt, ignite, take fire
start to burn or burst into flames

v contract

“did you catch a cold?”
Synonyms
contract, get, take
be stricken by an illness, fall victim to an illness
Types:
catch cold
come down with a cold
Type of:
contract, get, take
be stricken by an illness, fall victim to an illness

v suffer from the receipt of

“She will catch hell for this behavior!”
Synonyms:
get
get, receive
receive as a retribution or punishment
Type of:
ache, hurt, suffer
feel physical pain

v be the catcher

“Who is catching?”
Synonyms
grab, take hold of
take hold of so as to seize or restrain or stop the motion of
Type of:
play
participate in games or sport

n the act of catching an object with the hands

“Mays made the catch with his back to the plate”
Synonyms:
grab, snap, snatch
Types:
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fair catch
(American football) a catch of a punt on the fly by a defensive player who has signalled that he will not run and so should not be tackled
interception
(American football) the act of catching a football by a player on the opposing team
reception
(American football) the act of catching a pass in football
rebound
the act of securing possession of the rebounding basketball after a missed shot
shoestring catch
(baseball) a running catch made near the ground
interlock, interlocking, mesh, meshing
the act of interlocking or meshing
Type of:
touch, touching
the act of putting two things together with no space between them

n the act of apprehending (especially apprehending a criminal)

Synonyms:
apprehension, arrest, collar, pinch, taking into custody
Type of:
capture, gaining control, seizure
the act of forcibly dispossessing an owner of property

n anything that is caught (especially if it is worth catching)

“he shared his catch with the others”
Type of:
object, physical object
a tangible and visible entity; an entity that can cast a shadow

n a person regarded as a good matrimonial prospect

Synonyms:
match
Type of:
adult, grownup
a fully developed person from maturity onward

n the quantity that was caught

“the catch was only 10 fish”
Synonyms:
haul
Type of:
indefinite quantity
an estimated quantity

n a restraint that checks the motion of something

Synonyms:
stop
Types:
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bench hook
any of various stops on a workbench against which work can be pushed (as while chiseling or planing)
doorstop, doorstopper
a stop that keeps open doors from moving
click, detent, dog, pawl
a hinged catch that fits into a notch of a ratchet to move a wheel forward or prevent it from moving backward
trip, tripper
a catch mechanism that acts as a switch
Type of:
constraint, restraint
a device that retards something's motion

n a fastener that fastens or locks a door or window

Types:
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hasp
a fastener for a door or lid; a hinged metal plate is fitted over a staple and is locked with a pin or padlock
hood latch
a catch that holds the hood of a car shut
hook
a catch for locking a door
latch
catch for fastening a door or gate; a bar that can be lowered or slid into a groove
Type of:
fastener, fastening, fixing, holdfast
restraint that attaches to something or holds something in place

n a break or check in the voice (usually a sign of strong emotion)

Type of:
delivery, manner of speaking, speech
your characteristic style or manner of expressing yourself orally

n a cooperative game in which a ball is passed back and forth

“he played catch with his son in the backyard”
Type of:
game
an amusement or pastime
2

v discover or come upon accidentally, suddenly, or unexpectedly; catch somebody doing something or in a certain state

“She caught her son eating candy”
“She was caught shoplifting”
Type of:
surprise
cause to be surprised

v become aware of

“he caught her staring out the window”
Type of:
find, see, witness
perceive or be contemporaneous with

v grasp with the mind or develop an understanding of

“did you catch that allusion?”
“We caught something of his theory in the lecture”
“don't catch your meaning”
Synonyms:
get
get
apprehend and reproduce accurately
get
acquire as a result of some effort or action
Type of:
understand
know and comprehend the nature or meaning of

v detect a blunder or misstep

Synonyms:
trip up
Type of:
discover, find out, get a line, get wind, get word, hear, learn, pick up, see
get to know or become aware of, usually accidentally

v perceive with the senses quickly, suddenly, or momentarily

“I caught the aroma of coffee”
“He caught the allusion in her glance”
“ears open to catch every sound”
Catch a glimpse”
Synonyms:
pick up
Type of:
comprehend, perceive
to become aware of through the senses

v see or watch

Catch a show on Broadway”
Synonyms:
see, take in, view, watch
see
perceive by sight or have the power to perceive by sight
Types:
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visualise, visualize
view the outline of by means of an X-ray
spectate
be a spectator in a sports event
preview
watch (a movie or play) before it is released to the general public
image
render visible, as by means of MRI
Type of:
watch
look attentively

v perceive by hearing

“I didn't catch your name”
Synonyms:
get
overhear, take in
hear, usually without the knowledge of the speakers
Type of:
hear
perceive (sound) via the auditory sense

v hear, usually without the knowledge of the speakers

Synonyms:
overhear, take in
get
perceive by hearing
Type of:
hear
perceive (sound) via the auditory sense

v apprehend and reproduce accurately

“She really caught the spirit of the place in her drawings”
Synonyms:
get
get
grasp with the mind or develop an understanding of
Type of:
reproduce
recreate a sound, image, idea, mood, atmosphere, etc.

v check oneself during an action

“She managed to catch herself before telling her boss what was on her mind”
Type of:
check, contain, control, curb, hold, hold in, moderate
lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits
3

n a drawback or difficulty that is not readily evident

“it sounds good but what's the catch?”
Synonyms:
gimmick
Type of:
drawback
the quality of being a hindrance
4

v spread or be communicated

“The fashion did not catch
Type of:
propagate, spread
become distributed or widespread
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