View synonyms for case



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  1. an instance of the occurrence, existence, etc., of something:

    Sailing in such a storm was a case of poor judgment.

  2. the actual state of things:

    That is not the case.

  3. a question or problem of moral conduct; matter:

    a case of conscience.

  4. Mine is a sad case.

  5. a person or thing whose plight or situation calls for attention:

    This family is a hardship case.

  6. a specific occurrence or matter requiring discussion, decision, or investigation, as by officials or law-enforcement authorities:

    The police studied the case of the missing jewels.

  7. a stated argument used to support a viewpoint:

    He presented a strong case against the proposed law.

  8. an instance of disease, injury, etc., requiring medical or surgical attention or treatment; individual affliction:

    She had a severe case of chicken pox.

  9. a medical or surgical patient.
  10. Law.
    1. a suit or action at law; cause.
    2. a set of facts giving rise to a legal claim, or to a defense to a legal claim.
  11. Grammar.
    1. a category in the inflection of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives, noting the syntactic relation of these words to other words in the sentence, indicated by the form or the position of the words.
    2. a set of such categories in a particular language.
    3. the meaning of or the meaning typical of such a category.
    4. such categories or their meanings collectively.
  12. Informal. a peculiar or unusual person:

    He's a case.



[ keys ]


  1. an often small or portable container for enclosing something, as for carrying or safekeeping; receptacle:

    a jewel case.

  2. a sheath or outer covering:

    a knife case.

  3. a box with its contents:

    a case of ginger ale.

  4. the amount contained in a box or other container:

    There are a dozen bottles to a case.

  5. a pair or couple; brace:

    a case of pistols.

  6. a surrounding frame or framework, as of a door.
  7. Bookbinding. a completed book cover ready to be fitted to form the binding of a book.
  8. Printing. a tray of wood, metal, or plastic, divided into compartments for holding types for the use of a compositor and usually arranged in a set of two, the upper upper case for capital letters and often auxiliary types, the lower lower case for small letters and often auxiliary types, now generally replaced by the California job case. Compare news case.
  9. a cavity in the skull of a sperm whale, containing an oil from which spermaceti is obtained.
  10. Also called case card. Cards. the last card of a suit or denomination that remains after the other cards have been played:

    a case heart;

    the case jack.

  11. Faro. casebox.
  12. Southeastern U.S. (chiefly South Carolina). a coin of a particular denomination, as opposed to the same amount in change:

    a case quarter.

  13. Metallurgy. the hard outer part of a piece of casehardened steel.

verb (used with object)

, cased, cas·ing.
  1. to put or enclose in a case; cover with a case.
  2. Slang. to examine or survey (a house, bank, etc.) in planning a crime (sometimes followed by out ):

    They cased the joint and decided to pull the job on Sunday.

  3. to fuse a layer of glass onto (glass of a contrasting color or of different properties).
  4. to cover (a surface of a wall, well, shaft, etc.) with a facing or lining; revet.
  5. Bookbinding. to bind (a book) in a case.
  6. Cards Slang.
    1. to arrange (cards or a pack of cards) in a dishonest manner.
    2. to remember the quantity, suit, or denomination of (the cards played).



/ keɪs /


    1. a container, such as a box or chest
    2. ( in combination )



  1. an outer cover or sheath, esp for a watch
  2. a receptacle and its contents

    a case of ammunition

  3. a pair or brace, esp of pistols
  4. architect another word for casing
  5. a completed cover ready to be fastened to a book to form its binding
  6. printing a tray divided into many compartments in which a compositor keeps individual metal types of a particular size and style. Cases were originally used in pairs, one (the upper case) for capitals, the other (the lower case) for small letters See also upper case lower case
  7. metallurgy the surface of a piece of steel that has been case-hardened
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


  1. to put into or cover with a case

    to case the machinery

  2. slang.
    to inspect carefully (esp a place to be robbed)
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012



/ keɪs /


  1. a single instance, occurrence, or example of something
  2. an instance of disease, injury, hardship, etc
  3. a question or matter for discussion

    the case before the committee

  4. a specific condition or state of affairs; situation
  5. a set of arguments supporting a particular action, cause, etc
    1. a person attended or served by a doctor, social worker, solicitor, etc; patient or client
    2. ( as modifier )

      a case study

    1. an action or suit at law or something that forms sufficient grounds for bringing an action

      he has a good case

    2. the evidence offered in court to support a claim
  6. grammar
    1. a set of grammatical categories of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives, marked by inflection in some languages, indicating the relation of the noun, adjective, or pronoun to other words in the sentence
    2. any one of these categories

      the nominative case

  7. informal.
    a person in or regarded as being in a specified condition

    he's a mental case

    the accident victim was a hospital case

  8. informal.
    a person of a specified character (esp in the phrase a hard case )
  9. informal.
    an odd person; eccentric
  10. informal.
    love or infatuation
  11. short for case shot See canister
  12. as the case may be
    according to the circumstances
  13. in any case
    adverb no matter what; anyhow

    we will go in any case

  14. in case
    1. in order to allow for eventualities
    2. as conjunction in order to allow for the possibility that

      take your coat in case it rains

    3. if
  15. in case of
    preposition in the event of
  16. in no case
    adverb under no circumstances

    in no case should you fight back

“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


  1. A grammatical category indicating whether nouns and pronouns are functioning as the subject of a sentence ( nominative case ) or the object of a sentence ( objective case ), or are indicating possession ( possessive case ). He is in the nominative case, him is in the objective case, and his is in the possessive case. In a language such as English, nouns do not change their form in the nominative or objective case. Only pronouns do. Thus, ball stays the same in both “the ball is thrown,” where it is the subject, and in “Harry threw the ball ,” where it is the object.

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Other Words From

  • caseless adjective
  • caseless·ly adverb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of case1

First recorded before 1150; Middle English ca(a)s, from Anglo-French, Old French cas, from Latin cāsus “fall, accident, event, grammatical case” (translation of Greek ptôsis ), equivalent to cad(ere) “to fall” + -tus suffix of verb action; compare Old English cāsus “grammatical case”

Origin of case2

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English cas, from Anglo-French cas(s)e, Old French chasse, from Latin capsa “cylindrical case for holding books in scroll form, receptacle”
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Word History and Origins

Origin of case1

C13: from Old French casse, from Latin capsa, from capere to take, hold

Origin of case2

Old English casus (grammatical) case, associated also with Old French cas a happening; both from Latin cāsus, a befalling, occurrence, from cadere to fall
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. get off someone's case, Slang. to stop bothering or criticizing someone or interfering in someone's affairs:

    I've had enough of your advice, so just get off my case.

  2. get / be on someone's case, Slang. to bother or nag someone; meddle in someone's affairs:

    Her brother is always on her case about getting married. Why do you keep getting on my case?

  3. have a case on, Slang. to be infatuated with:

    He had a case on the girl next door.

  4. in any case, regardless of circumstances; be that as it may; anyhow:

    In any case, there won't be any necessity for you to come along.

  5. in case of, in the event of; if there should be:

    In case of an error in judgment, the group leader will be held responsible.

  6. in case, if it should happen that; if:

    In case I am late, don't wait to start dinner.

  7. in no case, under no condition; never:

    He should in no case be allowed to get up until he has completely recovered from his illness.

More idioms and phrases containing case

In addition to the idiom beginning with case , also see basket case ; get down to brass tacks (cases) ; have a case on ; in any case ; in case of ; in no case ; in the case of ; just in case ; make a federal case ; off someone's back (case) ; open and shut case .
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Synonym Study

Case, instance, example, illustration suggest the existence or occurrence of a particular thing representative of its type. Case and instance are closely allied in meaning, as are example and illustration. Case is a general word, meaning a fact, occurrence, or situation typical of a class: a case of assault and battery. An instance is a concrete factual case which is adduced to explain a general idea: an instance of a brawl in which an assault occurred. An example is one typical case, usually from many similar ones, used to make clear or explain the working of a principle (what may be expected of any others of the group): This boy is an example of the effect of strict discipline. An illustration exemplifies a theory or principle similarly, except that the choice may be purely hypothetical: The work of Seeing Eye dogs is an illustration of what is thought to be intelligence in animals.
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Example Sentences

In some cases, it’s people that didn’t even know they were sick.

The case stemmed from challenges to the state’s orders to close “non life-sustaining” businesses and to limit gatherings to 25 people indoors or 250 people outdoors.

Redfield said he expected a vaccine to start being available in November or December, with the first people to receive it being those with health problems that make them most vulnerable to a severe case or death if they are infected.

In the past, when I’ve discussed a case, unfortunately, that individual’s name was leaked to the media.

In each case, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads — by a wide margin in Minnesota and a narrow one in Wisconsin.

Certain features of its history suggest why this may be the case.

And, in the case of fluoride, at least, that doubt might actually be justified.

Her latest book, Heretic: The Case for a Muslim Reformation, will be published in April by HarperCollins.

Their friendship began when Krauss, who was chairman of the physics department at Case Western in Cleveland, sought out Epstein.

A grand juror in the Ferguson case is suing to be able to explain exactly what went down in the courtroom.

The case was an assault and battery that came off between two men named Brown and Henderson.

In this case, I suspect, there was co-operant a strongly marked childish characteristic, the love of producing an effect.

Sometimes in the case of large plants, cones have been known to occur on the tips of the branches of the Marsh Horsetail.

As a rule, however, even in the case of extreme varieties, a careful examination of the specimen will enable it to be identified.

Thus was the man left entirely to the devil, not even his life being reserved, as in the case of Job.


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More About Case

What is a basic definition of case?

A case is an instance or example of something, a container for storing something, or a matter that is being investigated by law enforcement or official agents. Case has many other senses as a noun and a verb.

A case is something you can point to as an example of something. This sense of case is often used in reference to illness, such as a patient having a bad case of malaria.

Real-life examples: If you go out in a thunderstorm with an umbrella and a raincoat, that would be a case of good judgement. The stone Sphinx in Egypt is a case of the amazing building powers of the ancient Egyptians.

Used in a sentence: I had a minor case of food poisoning yesterday. 

A case is also a box or container that is used to keep something safe. It is usually small and is often designed specifically for a particular item. Sometimes, another term is used with case to describe exactly what is supposed to be stored in the case, as in knife case.

Real-life examples: Guitars are often stored in guitar cases. Many people keep their eyeglasses in a glasses case. Smokers might have a cigarette case.

Used in a sentence: He tried to break into the jewelry case.

Lastly, a case is a matter or investigation that law enforcement or other officials are pursuing or working on. Detectives and other investigators are likely to be assigned or take on cases that they must research and try to find details about.

Real-life examples: Police detectives often get assigned murder cases, burglary cases, kidnapping cases, and many other cases that require investigation. The famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes pursued many interesting cases that required his amazing deductive skills.

Used in a sentence: The detective gathered clues while investigating the arson case. 

Where does case come from?

The first records of case come from before the 1150s. The sense of case meaning “an instance” ultimately comes from the Latin cāsus, meaning “a befalling” or “an occurrence.” The sense of case meaning “a container” ultimately comes from the Latin capsa, meaning “a receptacle for books.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to case?

  • caseless (adjective)
  • caselessly (adverb)
  • caser (noun)
  • well-cased (adjective)

What are some synonyms for case?

What are some words that share a root or word element with case

What are some words that often get used in discussing case?

How is case used in real life?

Case is a very common word that most often means an example or an instance.



Try using case!

Is case used correctly in the following sentence?

He forgot his keys at home in another case of bad memory.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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