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English definition of “catch”

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verb uk   /kætʃ/ (caught, caught) us  

catch verb (TAKE HOLD)

A1 [I or T] to take hold of something, especially something that is moving through the air: I managed to catch the glass before it hit the ground. We saw the eagle swoop from the sky to catch its prey. Our dog ran past me and out of the house before I could catch it. He caught hold of my arm. We placed saucepans on the floor to catch (= collect) the drops of water coming through the roof. UK The batsman was caught (out) (= someone in the other team caught the ball when he hit it).
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catch verb (STOP ESCAPING)

B1 [T] to find and stop a person or animal that is trying to escape: Great pressure was put on the police to catch the terrorists as soon as possible. [+ -ing verb] Two armed men were caught trying to cross the frontier at night. They were happy because they had caught a lot of fish that day. figurative I can see you're busy right now, so I'll catch you (= speak to you) later.
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catch verb (NOTICE)

B2 [T] to discover, see, or realize something, especially someone doing something wrong: [+ -ing verb] He caught her reading his old love letters. If the virus is caught (= discovered) in time, most patients can be successfully treated. I caught sight of/caught a glimpse of (= saw for a moment) a red coat in the crowd.catch sb's attention, imagination, interest, etc. B2 to make someone notice something and feel interested: A ship out at sea caught his attention. Her pictures caught my caught without sth to not have something, especially when it is needed: He doesn't like to be caught without any biscuits in the won't catch sb doing sth said to mean that you will certainly not see someone doing a particular thing or in a particular place: You won't catch me at work after four o'clock. You won't catch Carla eating in a cheap restaurant, oh no.
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catch verb (TRAVEL)

A1 [T] to travel or be able to travel on an aircraft, train, bus, etc.: He always catches the 10.30 a.m. train to work. She was worried that she'd arrive too late to catch the last bus home.
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catch verb (BECOME INFECTED)

A2 [T] to get an illness, especially one caused by bacteria or a virus: He caught a cold on holiday. A lot of children in the school caught measles last term.
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catch verb (STICK)

C2 [I or T] to stick somewhere, or to make something stick somewhere: The sleeve of my jacket (got) caught on the door handle and ripped. Her hair got caught (up) in her hairdryer.

catch verb (BE IN TIME)

[T] to manage to be in time to see or do something: I went home early to catch the beginning of the programme. You'll have to run if you want to catch the post (= send a letter before the post has been collected).

catch verb (HEAR/SEE)

[T] to manage to hear something: I couldn't catch what the announcer said, with all the other noise going on.

catch verb (HIT)

[T] to hit something, especially without intending to: His head caught the edge of the table as he fell. Medical teams were caught in the crossfire of the opposing armies.

catch verb (INVOLVE)

get caught up in sth C2 to become involved in something, often without wanting to: They were having an argument and somehow I got caught up in it.

catch verb (BREATHE)

catch your breath to stop breathing for a moment, or to begin to breathe correctly again after running or other exercise: I had to sit down and catch my breath.

catch verb (BE TOUCHED BY)

catch the sun UK If you have caught the sun, the sun has made your skin a slightly darker brown or red colour: You've caught the sun on the back of your neck.catch a few rays ( also catch some rays) informal to stay outside in the sun for a period of time: I'm going out to catch a few rays before lunch.catch the light If something catches the light, a light shines on it and makes it look shiny.

catch verb (BURN)

catch fire B1 to start burning: For reasons which are not yet known, the factory caught fire late yesterday evening. [I] to begin to burn: This wood's too wet, the fire won't catch.


noun uk   /kætʃ/ us  

catch noun (PROBLEM)

[S] a hidden problem or disadvantage: Free food? It sounds too good to be true. What's the catch?


[C] an amount of fish caught: The fishermen were disappointed with their catch that day. [S] informal a person who is considered to be very suitable for a relationship: Her new boyfriend's not much of a catch really, is he?


[C] a small device on a door, window, bag, etc. that keeps it fastened

catch noun (STIFFNESS)

[C or U] Indian English a feeling of stiffness in part of your body: She would complain of catch in the joints during winter.
(Definition of catch from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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