[kach-uh z-kach-kan]


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.


without specific plan or order: They lived catch-as-catch-can.


a style of wrestling in which the contestants are permitted to trip, tackle, and use holds below the waist.Compare Greco-Roman(def 3).

Origin of catch-as-catch-can

First recorded in 1885–90 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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

Historical Examples of catch-as-catch-can

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

  • 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



a style of wrestling in which trips, holds below the waist, etc, are allowed

adjective, adverb

mainly US and Canadian using any method or opportunity that comes to hand
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.”

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.