v. t.

  1. To lay hold on; to seize, especially with the hand; to grasp (anything) in motion, with the effect of holding; as, to catch a ball.
  2. To seize after pursuing; to arrest; as, to catch a thief.
  3. To take captive, as in a snare or net, or on a hook; as, to catch a bird or fish.
  4. Hence: To insnare; to entangle.
  5. To seize with the senses or the mind; to apprehend; as, to catch a melody.
  6. To communicate to; to fasten upon; as, the fire caught the adjoining building.
  7. To engage and attach; to please; to charm.
  8. To get possession of; to attain.
  9. To take or receive; esp. to take by sympathy, contagion, infection, or exposure; as, to catch the spirit of an occasion; to catch the measles or smallpox; to catch cold; the house caught fire.
  10. To come upon unexpectedly or by surprise; to find; as, to catch one in the act of stealing.
  11. To reach in time; to come up with; as, to catch a train.

v. i.

  1. To attain possession.
  2. To be held or impeded by entanglement or a light obstruction; as, a kite catches in a tree; a door catches so as not to open.
  3. To take hold; as, the bolt does not catch.
  4. To spread by, or as by, infecting; to communicate.


  1. Act of seizing; a grasp.
  2. That by which anything is caught or temporarily fastened; as, the catch of a gate.
  3. The posture of seizing; a state of preparation to lay hold of, or of watching he opportunity to seize; as, to lie on the catch.
  4. That which is caught or taken; profit; gain; especially, the whole quantity caught or taken at one time; as, a good catch of fish.
  5. Something desirable to be caught, esp. a husband or wife in matrimony.
  6. Passing opportunities seized; snatches.
  7. A slight remembrance; a trace.
  8. A humorous canon or round, so contrived that the singers catch up each other's words.