[ keys ]
/ keɪs /


Nearby words

  1. cascading style sheet,
  2. cascara,
  3. cascara sagrada,
  4. cascarilla,
  5. casco bay,
  6. case bay,
  7. case card,
  8. case ending,
  9. case fatality rate,
  10. case glass


Origin of case

before 1150; Middle English ca(a)s < Anglo-French, Old French cas < Latin cāsus fall, accident, event, grammatical case (translation of Greek ptôsis), equivalent to cad(ere) to fall + -tus suffix of v. action; compare Old English cāsus grammatical case

Related formscase·less, adjectivecase·less·ly, adverb

Can be confusedencase in case

Synonym study

1. Case, instance, example, illustration suggest the existence or occurrence of a particular thing representative of its type. Case and instance are closely allied in meaning, as are example and illustration. Case is a general word, meaning a fact, occurrence, or situation typical of a class: a case of assault and battery. An instance is a concrete factual case which is adduced to explain a general idea: an instance of a brawl in which an assault occurred. An example is one typical case, usually from many similar ones, used to make clear or explain the working of a principle (what may be expected of any others of the group): This boy is an example of the effect of strict discipline. An illustration exemplifies a theory or principle similarly, except that the choice may be purely hypothetical: The work of Seeing Eye dogs is an illustration of what is thought to be intelligence in animals. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for in case


/ (keɪs) /


Word Origin for case

Old English casus (grammatical) case, associated also with Old French cas a happening; both from Latin cāsus, a befalling, occurrence, from cadere to fall


/ (keɪs) /


verb (tr)

to put into or cover with a caseto case the machinery
slang to inspect carefully (esp a place to be robbed)

Word Origin for case

C13: from Old French casse, from Latin capsa, from capere to take, hold

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 in case
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for in case


[ kās ]


An occurrence of a disease or disorder.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for in case


A grammatical category indicating whether nouns and pronouns are functioning as the subject of a sentence (nominative case) or the object of a sentence (objective case), or are indicating possession (possessive case). He is in the nominative case, him is in the objective case, and his is in the possessive case. In a language such as English, nouns do not change their form in the nominative or objective case. Only pronouns do. Thus, ball stays the same in both “the ball is thrown,” where it is the subject, and in “Harry threw the ball,” where it is the object.

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.

Idioms and Phrases with in case

in case


Also, just in case. If it should happen that. For example, In case he doesn't show up, we have a backup speaker. The variant also is used without a following clause to mean simply “as a precaution,” as in I took an umbrella just in case. [c. 1400]


in case of; in the event of. If there should happen to be. For example, Here is a number to call in case of an emergency, or In the event of a power failure, we'll have to shift our plans. Similarly, in that case means “if that should happen,” as in You're alone in the store? In that case I'll bring your lunch. The first usage dates from the early 1700s, the second (with event) from about 1600, and the third from the mid-1800s. Also see in any case; in no case; in the case of.


In addition to the idiom beginning with case

  • case in point

also see:

  • basket case
  • get down to brass tacks (cases)
  • have a case on
  • in any case
  • in case of
  • in no case
  • in the case of
  • just in case
  • make a federal case
  • off someone's back (case)
  • open and shut case
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.