General English

  • noun the action of taking and holding a ball as it moves through the air
  • verb to take hold of something moving in the air
  • verb to get hold of an animal, especially in order to kill and eat it
  • verb to get on a vehicle such as a bus, plane or train before it leaves
  • verb to get an illness
  • verb to find someone doing something wrong


  • noun the amount of fish caught
  • verb to hunt and take animals, usually fish


  • The fitting that mates with a latch or cam to lock a door, gate, or window.


  • noun an act of catching the ball and thereby dismissing the batsman who hit it
    Citation ‘Allen hit well with Voce in and was unfortunate to miss his 50, Bradman bringing off a magnificent catch’ (Cricketer Spring Annual 1933)
    Citation ‘Gilchrist … was greeted also by his nemesis Flintoff, who again cut him off in his prime with the help of a slip catch by Strauss that defied belief even in replay’ (Haigh 2005)
  • noun a ball hit by the batsman that gives the fielding side an opportunity of making a catch; a chance
    Citation ‘If possible, it is best to get to a catch in time, and take it standing still with both hands’ (Ranjitsinhji 1897)
  • verb to take and keep hold of the ball after it has been hit by the batsman and before it has made contact with the ground
    Citation ‘It flew fast to fourth slip, where Gower … caught the ball above his head’ (Brearley 1982)
  • verb to dismiss a batsman by catching the ball in this way
    Citation ‘The next ball had Burke dabbing outside the off stump and caught by Evans’ (Peebles 1959)

Media Studies

  • verb to manage to capture somebody or something on film or tape


  • noun a move in ball games such as cricket or rounders in which a player catches a ball hit by another before it touches the ground, forcing that person to retire
  • verb to cause the batsman hitting the ball to be out by catching the ball before it reaches the ground


  • verb to be in time to get on a bus, train or plane before it leaves

Origin & History of “catch”

Originally catch meant ‘chase, hunt’ (and in fact it is etymologically related to the English word chase). However, it remarkably quickly moved on to be applied to the next logical step in the procedure, ‘capture’, and by the early 16th century ‘chase’ was becoming obsolete (although it remains the only sense of related words in other languages, such as French chasser and Italian cacciare). Looked at from another point of view, however, catch might be said to be harking back to its ultimate roots in Latin capere ‘take’, source of English capture. Its past participle, captus, provided the basis for a new verb captāre ‘try to seize, chase’. In vulgar Latin this became altered to *captiāre, source of Old French chacier (whence English chase) and the corresponding Anglo-Norman cachier (whence English catch).