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No mans error becomes his own Law; nor obliges him to persist in it.
Thomas Hobbes
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catch (es)
  1. (countable) The act of seizing or capturing. syn.
    The catch of the perpetrator was the product of a year of police work.
  2. (countable) The act of catching an object in motion, especially a ball. syn. transl.
    The player made an impressive catch.
    Nice catch!
  3. (countable) The act of noticing, understanding or hearing. syn. transl.
    Good catch. I never would have remembered that.
  4. (uncountable) The game of catching a ball. transl.
    The kids love to play catch.
  5. (countable) A find, in particular a boyfriend or girlfriend or prospective spouse. syn. transl.
    Did you see his latest catch?
    He's a good catch.
  6. (countable) Something which is captured or caught. transl.
    The fishermen took pictures of their catch.
  7. (uncountable) The amount which is caught, especially of fish. syn.
    The catch amounted to five tons of swordfish.
  8. (countable) A stopping mechanism, especially a clasp which stops something from opening. syn. transl.
    She installed a sturdy catch to keep her cabinets closed tight.
  9. (countable) A hesitation in voice, caused by strong emotion.
    There was a catch in his voice when he spoke his father's name.
  10. (countable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A concealed difficulty, especially in a deal or negotiation. syn. transl.
    It sounds like a great idea, but what's the catch?
    Be careful, that's a catch question.
  11. (countable) A crick; a sudden muscle pain during unaccustomed positioning when the muscle is in use.
    I bent over to see under the table and got a catch in my side.
  12. (countable) A fragment of music or poetry. syn.
    • 1852, Mrs M.A. Thompson, “The Tutor's Daughter”, in Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature, Art, and Fashion[1], page 266,  
      In the lightness of my heart I sang catches of songs as my horse gayly bore me along the well-remembered road.
  13. (obsolete) A state of readiness to capture or seize; an ambush.
  14. (countable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A crop which has germinated and begun to grow.
    • 1905, Eighth Biennial Report of the Board of Horticulture of the State of Oregon[2], page 204,  
      There was a good catch of rye and a good fall growth.
  15. (countable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A type of humorous round in which the voices gradually catch up with one another; usually sung by men and often having bawdy lyrics.
    • 1966, Allen Tate, T. S. Eliot: The Man and His Work[3], page 76,  
      One night, I remember, we sang a catch, written (words and music) by Orlo Williams, for three voices.
  16. (countable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) The refrain; a line or lines of a song which are repeated from verse to verse. syn.
    • 2003, Robert Hugh Benson, Come Rack! Come Rope![4], page 268,  
      The phrase repeated itself like the catch of a song.
  17. (countable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) The act of catching a hit ball before it reaches the ground, resulting in an out.
    • 1997 May 10, Henry Blofeld, “Cricket: Rose and Burns revive Somerset”[5], The Independent, 
      It was he who removed Peter Bowler with the help of a good catch at third slip.
  18. (countable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A player in respect of his catching ability; particularly one who catches well.
    • 1894 September 16, “To Meet Lord Hawke's Team”[6], The New York Times, page 21, 
      [] in the field he is all activity, covers an immense amount of ground, and is a sure catch.
  19. (countable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) The first contact of an oar with the water.
    • 1935 June 7, Robert F. Kelley, “California Crews Impress at Debut”[7], The New York Times, page 29, 
      They are sitting up straighter, breaking their arms at the catch and getting on a terrific amount of power at the catch with each stroke.
  20. (countable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A stoppage of breath, resembling a slight cough.
    • 2006, Mitsugu Sakihara et al., Okinawan-English Wordbook[8], ISBN 0824831020,  
      The glottal stop or glottal catch is the sound used in English in the informal words uh-huh 'yes' and uh-uh 'no'.


Derived terms



to catch

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to catch (third-person singular simple present catches, present participle catching, simple past and past participle caught)
  1. (transitive) To seize a moving object, with the hands or otherwise. syn. transl.
    I will throw you the ball, and you catch it.
    Watch me catch this raisin in my mouth.
  2. (transitive) To capture or snare, especially an animal. syn.
    I hope I catch a fish.
  3. (transitive) To seize after a pursuit. syn.
    He ran but we caught him at the exit.
    The police caught the robber at a nearby casino.
  4. (transitive) To grasp mentally: perceive and understand. transl.
    Did you catch his name?
    Did you catch the way she looked at him?
  5. (transitive) To attract and hold.
    He managed to catch her attention.
  6. (transitive) To charm or entrance.
    • 2004, Catherine Asaro, The Moon's Shadow[9], ISBN 076534324X, page 40,  
      No, a far more natural beauty caught him.
  7. (transitive) To discover, to surprise in the act.
    He was caught on video robbing the bank.
    He was caught in the act of stealing a biscuit.
  8. (transitive) To seize (an opportunity). transl.
    • 1811, Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 18,  
      [] she internally resolved henceforward to catch every opportunity of eyeing the hair and of satisfying herself, []
  9. (transitive) To take in; to watch or listen to (an entertainment).
    I have some free time tonight so I think I'll catch a movie.
  10. (transitive) To be in time for; to reach in time (especially, in time to leave).
    I would love to have dinner but I have to catch a plane.
  11. (transitive) To travel by means of.
  12. (transitive) To spread or be conveyed to.
    The fire spread slowly until it caught the eaves of the barn.
  13. (transitive) To be infected by.
    Everyone seems to be catching the flu this week.
  14. (transitive) To be affected by; to join in.
    She finally caught the mood of the occasion.
  15. (transitive) To regain something necessary, such as breath or sleep.
    I have to stop for a moment and catch my breath.
    I caught some Z's on the train.
  16. (transitive) To overtake or catch up to.
    We didn't catch the van until the next exit.
  17. (transitive) To receive and retain.
    The bucket catches water from the downspout.
  18. (transitive) To have something be held back or impeded.
    I caught my heel on the threshold.
  19. (transitive) To suffer from; to receive.
    You're going to catch a beating if they find out.
    We caught a run of bad luck this year.
  20. (transitive) To reproduce or echo a spirit or idea faithfully.
    You've really caught his determination in this sketch.
  21. (intransitive) To engage, stick, or latch. transl.
    Push it in until it catches.
  22. (intransitive) To make a grasping or snatching motion.
    He caught at the railing as he fell.
  23. (intransitive) To catch fire; to ignite.
    The trees caught quickly in the dry wind.
  24. (intransitive) To be held back or impeded.
    Be careful your dress doesn't catch on that knob.
  25. (intransitive) To hesitate, as if momentarily stuck.
    His voice caught when he came to his father's name.
    I was about to say something unpleasant, but I managed to catch myself.
  26. (intransitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To spread by contagion.
    The plague caught there, and left half the town dead.
  27. (intransitive) To serve well or poorly for catching, especially for catching fish.
    • 1877, Annual Report of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture[11], page 135,  
      The nets caught well, and Mr. Deeley reported it the best fishing ground he ever tried.
  28. (transitive) To hit someone in a specific place.
    If he catches you on the chin, you'll be on the mat.
  29. (transitive) To be hit by something. syn.
    He caught a bullet in the back of the head last year.
  30. (transitive) To touch or be touched by, especially wind or light.
    The sunlight caught the leaves and the trees turned to gold.
  31. (transitive) To entrap or trip up a person, especially deceptively.
  32. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To become pregnant.
    • 2002, Orpha Caton, Shadow on the Creek[12], page 102-103,  
      Had Nancy got caught with a child? If so she would destroy her parent's dreams for her.
  33. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To marry or enter into a similar relationship with a man.
    • 1933, Sinclair Lewis, Ann Vickers[13], page 108,  
      The public [] said that Miss Bogardus was a suffragist because she had never caught a man; that she wanted something, but it wasn't the vote.
    • 2006, Michael Collier and Georgia Machemer, Medea[14], ISBN 0195145666, page 23,  
      As for Aspasia, concubinage with Pericles brought her as much honor as she could hope to claim in Athens. [] from the moment she caught her man, this influential, unconventional woman became a lightning rod []
  34. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To handle an exception. transl.
    When the program catches an exception, this is recorded in the log file.
  35. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To play a specific period of time as the catcher.
    He caught the last three innings.
  36. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To end a player's innings by catching a hit ball before the first bounce.
    Townsend hit 29 before he was caught by Wilson.
  37. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To lower one's oars into the water at the beginning of the stroke.
    • 1906, Arthur W. Stevens, Practical Rowing with Scull and Sweep[15], page 63,  
      Stop gathering, in that gradual fashion, and catch the water sharply and decisively.
  38. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To contact a wave in such a way that one can ride it back to shore.
    • 2001, John Lull, Sea Kayaking Safety & Rescue[16], ISBN 0899972748, page 203,  
      If you are surfing a wave through the rocks, make sure you have a clear route before catching the wave.
  39. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To deliver or assist in the delivery of a baby.
    • 1994, Chris Offutt, “Aunt Granny Lith”, in The Vintage Book of American Short Stories[17], ISBN 0679745130, page 391,  
      The last granny-woman in these pans. She caught three hundred babies on this creek.
  40. (intransitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To germinate and set down roots.
    The seeds caught and grew.
  41. (intransitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To turn over.
    The engine finally caught and roared to life.
  42. (intransitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To receive wind; to be blown on.
    • 2003, Jerry Dennis, The Living Great Lakes[18], ISBN 0312251939, page 63,  
      [] the sails caught and filled, and the boat jumped to life beneath us.
  43. (intransitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To play in the position of catcher.
    Who's catching?



Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Dictionary notes

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