• synonyms


[kach-uh z-kach-kan]
  1. Also catch-can. taking advantage of any opportunity; using any method that can be applied: a catch-as-catch-can life, as an itinerant handyman.
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  1. without specific plan or order: They lived catch-as-catch-can.
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  1. a style of wrestling in which the contestants are permitted to trip, tackle, and use holds below the waist.Compare Greco-Roman(def 3).
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Origin of catch-as-catch-can

First recorded in 1885–90
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for catch-as-catch-can

Historical Examples

  • It was catch-as-catch-can in the darkness, and mostly the other fellow could and did.

    Astounding Stories, March, 1931


  • Anyhow, drawled the man from Catch-as-Catch-Can, she wont go no more.

  • Swords, pistols, fists, catch-as-catch-can—what would you like?

    Second Plays

    A. A. Milne

  • Still, they all fight alike—rough and tumble, catch-as-catch-can.

    Cappy Ricks

    Peter B. Kyne

  • Are you going to have a waltz, or is it going to be a two-step, or a catch-as-catch-can wrestling match?

    Ted Strong in Montana

    Edward C. Taylor

British Dictionary definitions for catch-as-catch-can


  1. a style of wrestling in which trips, holds below the waist, etc, are allowed
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adjective, adverb
  1. mainly US and Canadian using any method or opportunity that comes to hand
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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

catch-as-catch-can in Culture


A phrase that describes a situation in which people must improvise or do what they can with limited means: “We don't have enough textbooks for all of the students, so it'll be catch-as-catch-can.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.