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  1. a memorable or effective word or phrase that is repeated so often that it becomes a slogan, as in a political campaign or in advertising a product.
  2. Also called headword, guide word. a word printed at the top of a page in a dictionary or other reference book to indicate the first or last entry or article on that page.Compare running head.
  3. a device, used especially in old books, to assist the binder in assembling signatures by inserting at the foot of each page the first word of the following page.
  4. keyword(def 3).
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Origin of catchword

First recorded in 1720–30; catch + word
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for catchword


  1. a word or phrase made temporarily popular, esp by a political campaign; slogan
  2. a word printed as a running head in a reference book
  3. theatre an actor's cue to speak or enter
  4. the first word of a printed or typewritten page repeated at the bottom of the page preceding
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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

Word Origin and History for catchword


1730, "the first word of the following page inserted at the lower right-hand corner of each page of a book," from catch (v.) + word (n.); extended to "word caught up and repeated" (especially in the political sense) by 1795. The literal sense is extinct; the figurative sense thrives.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper