A case is a specific instance or example of something. Your teacher might say, "In your case, I think you should go right into the calculus class."

A case is one particular situation — and it's also a legal term for a court proceeding, and a medical term for the details of one specific patient. Another kind of case is a bag that holds or covers something, like a laptop case or a cellphone case. When case is a verb, it means "to scope out a location for burglarizing it later." These various meanings come from two Latin roots: casus, "chance or occasion," and capsa, "box."

Definitions of case
  1. noun
    an occurrence of something
    “it was a case of bad judgment”
    synonyms: example, instance
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    humiliation, mortification
    an instance in which you are caused to lose your prestige or self-respect
    bit, piece
    an instance of some kind
    clip, time
    an instance or single occasion for some event
    type of:
    happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
    an event that happens
  2. noun
    a specific state of mind that is temporary
    “a case of the jitters”
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    type of:
    frame of mind, state of mind
    a temporary psychological state
  3. noun
    the actual state of things
    “that was not the case
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    type of:
    a piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred
  4. noun
    a special set of circumstances
    “it may rain in which case the picnic will be canceled”
    synonyms: event
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    type of:
    a condition that accompanies or influences some event or activity
  5. noun
    a comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedy
    synonyms: causa, cause, lawsuit, suit
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    civil suit
    a lawsuit alleging violations of civil law by the defendant
    class action, class-action suit
    a lawsuit brought by a representative member of a large group of people on behalf of all members of the group
    a legal proceeding brought against someone who has sued you
    criminal suit
    a lawsuit alleging violations of criminal law by the defendant
    a hypothetical case that law students argue as an exercise
    bastardy proceeding, paternity suit
    a lawsuit filed to determine the father of a child born out of wedlock (and to provide for the support of the child once paternity is determined)
    type of:
    legal proceeding, proceeding, proceedings
    (law) the institution of a sequence of steps by which legal judgments are invoked
  6. noun
    a problem requiring investigation
    “Perry Mason solved the case of the missing heir”
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    type of:
    a question raised for consideration or solution
  7. noun
    a statement of facts and reasons used to support an argument
    “he stated his case clearly”
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    type of:
    argument, statement
    a fact or assertion offered as evidence that something is true
  8. noun
    the housing or outer covering of something
    “the clock has a walnut case
    synonyms: casing, shell
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    protective casing for something that resembles a leg
    gear box, gear case, gearbox
    the shell (metal casing) in which a train of gears is sealed
    the tough metal shell casing for certain kinds of ammunition
    type of:
    a protective cover designed to contain or support a mechanical component
  9. noun
    the enclosing frame around a door or window opening
    synonyms: casing
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    type of:
    a structure supporting or containing something
  10. noun
    a glass container used to store and display items in a shop or museum or home
    synonyms: display case, showcase, vitrine
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    trophy case
    a case in which to display trophies
    type of:
    any object that can be used to hold things (especially a large metal boxlike object of standardized dimensions that can be loaded from one form of transport to another)
  11. noun
    an enveloping structure or covering enclosing an animal or plant organ or part
    synonyms: sheath
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    outer sheath of the pupa of certain insects
    a hard protective sheath (as secreted by certain protoctists, for example)
    medullary sheath, myelin sheath
    a layer of myelin encasing (and insulating) the axons of medullated nerve fibers
    neurilemma, neurolemma
    thin membranous sheath around a nerve fiber
    outer membranous covering of some fruits or seeds
    the husk of an ear of corn
    dry outer covering of a fruit or seed or nut
    cod, pod, seedcase
    the vessel that contains the seeds of a plant (not the seeds themselves)
    a modified leaf or leaflike part just below and protecting an inflorescence
    type of:
    cover, covering, natural covering
    a natural object that covers or envelops
  12. noun
    a portable container for carrying several objects
    “the musicians left their instrument cases backstage”
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    baggage, luggage
    cases used to carry belongings when traveling
    a case with a handle; for carrying papers or files or books
    a small case for carrying business cards
    cigarette case
    a small flat case for holding cigarettes; can be carried in a purse or a pocket
    compact, powder compact
    a small cosmetics case with a mirror; to be carried in a woman's purse
    dispatch box, dispatch case
    case consisting of an oblong container (usually having a lock) for carrying dispatches or other valuables
    glasses case
    a case for carrying spectacles
    gun case
    a case for storing a gun
    a case for containing a set of articles
    letter case
    case for carrying letters
    a small ornamental case; usually contains a picture or a lock of hair and is worn on a necklace
    a small case for holding pills
    a large, flat, thin case for carrying loose papers or drawings or maps; usually leather
    case for holding arrows
    (card games) a case from which playing cards are dealt one at a time
    small case into which an object fits
    billfold, notecase, pocketbook, wallet
    a pocket-sized case for holding papers and paper money
    watch case
    the metal case in which the works of a watch are housed
    writing desk
    a portable case containing writing materials and having a writing surface
    attache, attache case
    a shallow and rectangular briefcase
    bag, grip, suitcase, traveling bag, travelling bag
    a portable rectangular container for carrying clothes
    ditty bag
    kit used by sailors and soldiers
    dressing case
    a small piece of luggage for carrying brushes and bottles and toilet articles while traveling
    hand luggage
    luggage that is light enough to be carried by hand
    a round piece of luggage for carrying hats
    a piece of luggage carried on top of a coach
    record cover, record sleeve
    a sleeve for storing a phonograph record
    luggage consisting of a small case with a flat bottom and (usually) a shoulder strap
    toilet kit, travel kit
    a kit for carrying toilet articles while traveling
    luggage consisting of a large strong case used when traveling or for storage
    type of:
    any object that can be used to hold things (especially a large metal boxlike object of standardized dimensions that can be loaded from one form of transport to another)
  13. noun
    bed linen consisting of a cover for a pillow
    synonyms: pillow slip, pillowcase, slip
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    type of:
    bed linen
    linen or cotton articles for a bed (as sheets and pillowcases)
  14. noun
    the quantity contained in a case
    synonyms: caseful
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    type of:
    the quantity that a container will hold
  15. verb
    enclose in, or as if in, a case
    synonyms: encase, incase
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    arrange in a container
    box, package
    put into a box
    put in a sack
    put into a crate; as for protection
    containerise, containerize
    package in a container
    put into a bag
    bundle, bundle up, roll up
    make into a bundle
    fill by packing tightly
    type of:
    close in, enclose, inclose, shut in
    surround completely
  16. noun
    a person requiring professional services
    “a typical case was the suburban housewife described by a marriage counselor”
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    a person who seeks the advice of a lawyer
    a person who requires medical care
    a person whose case has been referred to a specialist or professional group
    charity case, welfare case
    a case for a welfare worker
    a person with alexia
    a person undergoing psychoanalysis
    a person afflicted with arthritis
    a person who has abnormally high blood pressure
    a patient with imaginary symptoms and ailments
    a person who has abnormally low blood pressure
    index case
    the earliest documented case of a disease that is included in an epidemiological study
    inmate, inpatient
    a patient who is residing in the hospital where he is being treated
    a patient who does not reside in the hospital where he is being treated
    a patient who has been vaccinated
    type of:
    individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
    a human being
  17. noun
    a person who is subjected to experimental or other observational procedures; someone who is an object of investigation
    “the cases that we studied were drawn from two different communities”
    synonyms: guinea pig, subject
  18. noun
    a person of a specified kind (usually with many eccentricities)
    “a mental case
    synonyms: character, eccentric, type
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    type of:
    adult, grownup
    a fully developed person from maturity onward
  19. noun
    a specific size and style of type within a type family
    synonyms: face, font, fount, typeface
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    unicameral script
    a script with a single case
    bicameral script
    a script having two distinct cases
    constant-width font, fixed-width font, monospaced font, typewriter font
    a typeface is which each character is given the same width (as by a typewriter)
    proportional font
    any font whose different characters have different widths
    cartridge font, font cartridge
    any font that is contained in a cartridge that can be plugged into a computer printer
    Gothic, black letter
    a heavy typeface in use from 15th to 18th centuries
    bold, bold face, boldface
    a typeface with thick heavy lines
    a typeface with letters slanting upward to the right
    raster font, screen font
    the font that is displayed on a computer screen
    Helvetica, sans serif
    a typeface in which characters have no serifs
    Latin alphabet, Roman alphabet
    the alphabet evolved by the ancient Romans which serves for writing most of the languages of western Europe
    Hebraic alphabet, Hebrew alphabet, Hebrew script
    a Semitic alphabet used since the 5th century BC for writing the Hebrew language (and later for writing Yiddish and Ladino)
    Cyrillic, Cyrillic alphabet
    an alphabet derived from the Greek alphabet and used for writing Slavic languages (Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and some other Slavic languages)
    Arabic alphabet
    the alphabet of 28 characters derived from Aramaic and used for writing Arabic languages (and borrowed for writing Urdu)
    Bodoni, Bodoni font, modern, modern font
    a typeface (based on an 18th century design by Gianbattista Bodoni) distinguished by regular shape and hairline serifs and heavy downstrokes
    old style, old style font
    a typeface (based on an 18th century design) distinguished by irregularity and slanted ascender serifs and little contrast between light and heavy strokes
    roman, roman letters, roman print, roman type
    a typeface used in ancient Roman inscriptions
    type of:
    printed characters
  20. noun
    (printing) the receptacle in which a compositor has his type, which is divided into compartments for the different letters, spaces, or numbers
    “for English, a compositor will ordinarily have two such cases, the upper case containing the capitals and the lower case containing the small letters”
    synonyms: compositor's case, typesetter's case
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    type of:
    a container that is used to put or keep things in
  21. noun
    nouns or pronouns or adjectives (often marked by inflection) related in some way to other words in a sentence
    synonyms: grammatical case
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    nominative, nominative case, subject case
    the category of nouns serving as the grammatical subject of a verb
    oblique, oblique case
    any grammatical case other than the nominative
    accusative, accusative case, objective case
    the case of nouns serving as the direct object of a verb
    dative, dative case
    the category of nouns serving as the indirect object of a verb
    genitive, genitive case, possessive, possessive case
    the case expressing ownership
    vocative, vocative case
    the case (in some inflected languages) used when the referent of the noun is being addressed
    ablative, ablative case
    the case indicating the agent in passive sentences or the instrument or manner or place of the action described by the verb
    type of:
    grammatical category, syntactic category
    (grammar) a category of words having the same grammatical properties
  22. verb
    look over, usually with the intention to rob
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    type of:
    look over carefully
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