verb (used with object), caught, catch·ing.
verb (used without object), caught, catch·ing.
- to become popular: That new song is beginning to catch on.
- to grasp mentally; understand: You'd think he'd catch on that he's boring us.
- New England.(in cooking) to scorch or burn slightly; sear: A pot roast is better if allowed to catch on.
- to lift or snatch suddenly: Leaves were caught up in the wind.
- to bring or get up to date (often followed by on or with): to catch up on one's reading.
- to come up to or overtake (something or someone) (usually followed by with): to catch up with the leader in a race.
- to become involved or entangled with: caught up in the excitement of the crowd.
- to point out to (a person) minor errors, untruths, etc. (usually followed by on): We caught the teacher up on a number of factual details.
- Falconry.to capture for further training (a hawk that has been flown at hack).
- South Midland and Southern U.S.to harness (a horse or mule).
Origin of catch
Synonyms for catch
Antonyms for catch
Related Words for catch onunderstand, see, hear, gain, determine, confirm, verify, divine, double-check, simplify, promote, revive, disseminate, blossom, bloom, multiply, flourish, thrive, get, recognize
verb (intr, adverb) informal
verb catches, catching or caught
- to grasp or attempt to grasp
- to take advantage (of), esp eagerlyhe caught at the chance
- a concealed, unexpected, or unforeseen drawback or handicap
- (as modifier)a catch question
Word Origin for catch
late 14c., "device to hold a latch of a door," also "a trap;" also "a fishing vessel," from catch (v.). Meaning "action of catching" attested from 1570s. Meaning "that which is caught or worth catching" (later especially of spouses) is from 1590s. Sense of "hidden cost, qualification, etc." is slang first recorded 1855 in P.T. Barnum.
c.1200, "to take, capture," from Anglo-French or Old North French cachier "catch, capture" (animals) (Old French chacier "hunt, pursue, drive (animals)," Modern French chasser "to hunt;" making it a doublet of chase (v.)), from Vulgar Latin *captiare "try to seize, chase" (also source of Spanish cazar, Italian cacciare), from Latin captare "to take, hold," frequentative of Latin capere "to take, hold" (see capable).
Senses in early Middle English also included "chase, hunt," which later went with chase (v.). Of infections from 1540s; of fire from 1734; of sleep, etc., from early 14c. Related: Catched (obsolete); catching; caught.
Meaning "act as a catcher in baseball" recorded from 1865. To catch on "apprehend" is 1884, American English colloquial. To catch (someone's) eye is first attested 1813, in Jane Austen. Catch as catch can first attested late 14c.
Understand, as in Aunt Mary doesn't catch on to any jokes. The verb to catch alone was used with this meaning from Shakespeare's time, on being added in the late 1800s. Also see get it, def. 2.
Become popular, as in This new dance is really beginning to catch on. [Late 1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with catch
- catch as catch can
- catch at
- catch a Tartar
- catch cold
- catch fire
- catch in the act
- catch it
- catch napping
- catch off guard
- catch on
- catch one's breath
- catch one's death (of cold)
- catch red-handed
- catch sight of
- catch someone's eye
- catch some rays
- catch some z's
- catch the drift
- catch up
- early bird catches the worm
- get (catch) the drift
- takes one to know one (a thief to catch a thief)
Also see undercaught.