catch · verb /kætʃ/Full view
catch (TAKE HOLD)
A1 I or T to take hold of something, especially something that is moving through the air
Dictionary examples:

Try to catch the ball.

She fell backwards but he caught her in his arms.

Learner example:

I like the competition, because it's interesting to see who can catch the ball and who can't. (Key English Test; A2; Tamil)

catch (TRAVEL)
A1 T to get on a bus, train, etc. in order to travel somewhere
Dictionary examples:

He catches the 8:30 train to London.

I got there too late to catch the last bus home.

Learner example:

I can catch the bus to Cheltenham. (Key English Test; A2; Chinese)

catch (ILLNESS)
A2 T to get an illness, especially one caused by bacteria or a virus
Dictionary examples:

He's caught a cold.

He caught the flu while we were on holiday.

Learner example:

I heard you caught a cold. (Key English Test; A2; Japanese)

catch (STOP ESCAPING)
B1 T to find and stop a person or animal that is trying to escape
Dictionary examples:

Did they ever catch the terrorists?

They caught a lot of fish that day.

Learner example:

He gave me some good tips on how to catch some really large fish. (Preliminary English Test; B1; German)

catch fire
B1 to start burning
Dictionary example:

The factory caught fire late yesterday evening.

Learner example:

One of the new machines that I had brought from Germany had caught fire. (Preliminary English Test; B1; Tamil)

catch sb's attention, interest, etc.
B2 to make someone notice something and feel interested
Dictionary example:

A ship out at sea caught his attention.

Learner example:

The first thing that caught my attention in the advert was "... eight people from different countries...". (First Certificate in English; B2; Turkish)

catch (DISCOVER)
B2 T to discover someone who is doing something wrong or something secret
Dictionary examples:

He caught her reading his old love letters.

She was caught cheating in the exam.

Learner example:

I [learnt] a good lesson when I was caught cheating on a test at school last year. (First Certificate in English; B2; Greek)

catch (CRIMINAL)
B2 T If the police catch a criminal, they find them and take them away.
Dictionary example:

These terrorists must be caught.

Learner example:

The issue had been forgotten and the burglar was never caught. (First Certificate in English; B2; Greek)

be/get caught
C2 to be unable to avoid something unpleasant
Dictionary example:

I got caught in the rain.

Learner example:

I must apologise for my lateness as I was caught in the bad weather. (Certificate of Proficiency in English; C2; Chinese)

catch (STICK)
C2 I or T to stick somewhere, or to make something stick somewhere
Dictionary example:

My dress caught on the door handle as I was leaving.

Learner example:

No sooner did I start bicycling before my slacks got caught in the chain and with a curse coming from my lips I fell right into the neighbour's well trimmed shrubbery. (Certificate of Proficiency in English; C2; Swedish)

catch sight of sth
C2 to see something suddenly, often only for a short time
Dictionary example:

He caught sight of himself in the mirror.

Learner example:

All we could see were people bursting into tears when they caught sight of his coffin. (Certificate of Proficiency in English; C2; Portuguese)

catch sb's eye
C2 to get someone's attention by looking at them
Dictionary example:

I tried to catch her eye, but she had already turned away.

Learner example:

All of a sudden she caught my eye and smiled in a sad way. (Certificate of Proficiency in English; C2; Dutch)

catch sb's eye
C2 to be attractive or different enough to be noticed by people
Dictionary example:

It was the colour of his jacket that caught my eye.

Learner example:

Dear Sir, I am writing regarding your newly published article about nutrition, which immediately caught my eye as I was reading your magazine. (Certificate of Proficiency in English; C2; Romanian)

catch sb off guard
C2 to surprise someone by doing something when they are not ready to deal with it
Dictionary example:

The journalist caught him off guard and he admitted to lying.

Learner example:

It caught me off guard. This grotesque image shattered the comfort of a languid Sunday afternoon and for a few seconds hurled me into a world of pain. (Certificate of Proficiency in English; C2; Greek)

catch on (BECOME POPULAR)
C1 to become popular
Dictionary example:

I wonder if the game will catch on with young people?

Learner example:

The commercial succes[s] of "Super agent" has resulted in introducing "Super agent II", the game which is sup[p]osed to present further adventures of the agent. Unfortunately, I don't think that it will catch on. (Certificate in Advanced English; C1; Polish)

catch on (UNDERSTAND)
C2 to understand something, especially after a long time
Dictionary example:

It took him a while to catch on to what we meant.

catch up (sb) or catch (sb) up (REACH SOMEONE)
B2 to reach someone in front of you by going faster than them
Dictionary examples:

I ran after her and managed to catch up with her.

You go on ahead - I'll catch you up later.

Learner example:

I tried to catch up with the guide and the other tourists. (First Certificate in English; B2; Swedish)

catch up (sb) or catch (sb) up (BE AS GOOD AS)
C1 to reach the same level or quality as someone or something else
Dictionary example:

She's doing extra work to catch up with the rest of the class.

Learner example:

Her father did not really seem to hate her, after all, and if she was always left in the shadow, that happened because she did not do her best to catch up with her brothers. (Certificate of Proficiency in English; C2; Italian)

catch up
B2 to learn and discuss the newest facts about something
Dictionary examples:

We can catch up next week.

I'll phone you tonight to catch up on all the gossip.

Learner example:

We could catch up on each other's news. (First Certificate in English; B2; Portuguese)

be/get caught up in sth
C2 to become involved in a situation, often without wanting to
Dictionary example:

How did the paper get caught up in a legal dispute?

Learner example:

In order not to get caught up in a vicious circle, it's sensible just to study well and then be able to for[e]see the results of [your] actions. (Certificate of Proficiency in English; C2; Russian)

catch up with sb (MEET)
B1 to meet someone you know after not seeing them for a period of time and talk about what you have been doing
Dictionary examples:

I caught up with him in Singapore a few years later.

I'll catch up with you later!

Learner example:

You should catch up with me in Sicily, where you will be able to walk on the best beaches you have ever seen. (Preliminary English Test; B1; Italian)

catch up with sb (BAD THING)
C2 If something bad that you have done or that has been happening to you catches up with you, it begins to cause problems for you.
Dictionary example:

I can feel the stress of the last few weeks beginning to catch up with me.

catch up on/with sth
B2 to do something that you did not have time to do earlier
Dictionary example:

I'm hoping to catch up on some sleep.

Learner example:

It gave me time to catch up with my reading and sleeping. (First Certificate in English; B2; Spanish)

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