catch-up

[ kach-uhp ]
/ ˈkætʃˌʌp /

noun

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.

adjective

intended to keep up with or surpass a norm or competitor: a catch-up pay raise to offset inflation.

Idioms

    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

Definition for catch up (2 of 2)

Origin of catch

1175–1225; Middle English cacchen to chase, capture < Old North French cachier < Vulgar Latin *captiāre, for Latin captāre to grasp at, seek out, try to catch, frequentative of capere to take

Related forms

catch·a·ble, adjectiveout·catch, verb (used with object), out·caught, out·catch·ing.un·catch·a·ble, adjective

Synonym study

7. Catch, clutch, grasp, seize imply taking hold suddenly of something. To catch may be to reach after and get: He caught my hand. To clutch is to take firm hold of (often out of fear or nervousness), and retain: The child clutched her mother's hand. To grasp also suggests both getting and keeping hold of, with a connotation of eagerness and alertness, rather than fear (literally or figuratively): to grasp someone's hand in welcome; to grasp an idea. To seize implies the use of force or energy in taking hold of suddenly (literally or figuratively): to seize a criminal; to seize an opportunity.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for catch up (1 of 2)

catch up


verb (adverb)

(tr) to seize and take up (something) quickly
(when intr, often foll by with) to reach or pass (someone or something), after followinghe soon caught him up
(intr; usually foll by on or with) to make up for lost ground or deal with a backlog (in some specified task or activity)
(tr; often passive) to absorb or involveshe was caught up in her reading
(tr) to raise by or as if by fasteningthe hem of her dress was caught up with ribbons

British Dictionary definitions for catch up (2 of 2)

catch

/ (kætʃ) /

verb catches, catching or caught

noun

Derived Forms

catchable, adjective

Word Origin for catch

C13 cacchen to pursue, from Old Northern French cachier, from Latin captāre to snatch, from capere to seize
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

Idioms and Phrases with catch up (1 of 2)

catch up


1

Suddenly snatch or lift up, as in The wind caught up the kite and sent it high above the trees. [First half of 1300s]

2

Also, catch up with. Come from behind, overtake. This usage can be either literal, as in You run so fast it's hard to catch up with you, or figurative, as in The auditors finally caught up with the embezzler. [Mid-1800s]

3

Become involved with, enthralled by, as in We all were caught up in the magical mood of that evening. [Mid-1600s]

4

Also, catch up on or with. Bring or get up to date, as in Let's get together soon and catch up on all the news, or Tonight I have to catch up with my correspondence. [First half of 1900s]

Idioms and Phrases with catch up (2 of 2)

catch


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

also see:

  • early bird catches the worm
  • get (catch) the drift
  • takes one to know one (a thief to catch a thief)

Also see undercaught.

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