- 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.
- intended to keep up with or surpass a norm or competitor: a catch-up pay raise to offset inflation.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Word Origin and History for play catch up
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper