- an effort to reach or pass a norm, especially after a period of delay: After the slowdown there was a catch-up in production.
- an effort to catch up with or surpass a competitor, as in a sports contest.
- an instance of catching up.
- intended to keep up with or surpass a norm or competitor: a catch-up pay raise to offset inflation.
- play catch-up, Informal. to make a special effort to overcome a late start, a liability, or the advantage a competitor has: After Russia launched the first space satellite, other countries had to play catch-up.
Origin of catch-up
1835–45, Americanism; noun, adj. use of verb phrase catch up
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for catch-up
His tumor had spread, and the next six years became a painful game of catch-up, one that he ultimately failed.Why Smart People Are Dumb Patients
July 14, 2014
But though they played the rest of the game in catch-up mode, their machine had been programmed to win all along.The Week’s Best Longreads: The Daily Beast Picks for November 10, 2012
November 10, 2012
I talked about the end of European catch-up on US productivity levels.What Should Spain Have Done Differently?
June 27, 2012
While the U.S. is an important cyber warfare partner with Israel, it has a lot of catch-up to do to remain competitive.Where is America's Cyber Warfare Leadership?
June 26, 2012
His catch-up attempt was unsuccessful—he was never able to free himself of the Republican party straight-jacket.Obama Headlines From Around the World
The Daily Beast
November 5, 2008
Mrs. Reed was finishing a block of patchwork, catch-up work, when she had to wait two minutes.A Little Girl in Old New York
Amanda Millie Douglas
Word Origin and History for catch-up
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper