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. "They pursued . . . and caught him." Judg. i. 6.
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. "To catch him in his words". Mark xii. 13.
5. To seize with the senses or the mind; to apprehend; as, to catch a melody. "Fiery thoughts . . . whereof I catch the issue." Tennyson.
6. To communicate to; to fasten upon; as, the fire caught the adjoining building.
7. To engage and attach; to please; to charm.
"The soothing arts that catch the fair. Dryden." --
8. To get possession of; to attain.
"Torment myself to catch the English throne. Shak." --
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.
To catch fire
to become inflamed or ignited.
to catch it
to get a scolding or beating; to suffer punishment. [Colloq.]
To catch one's eye
to interrupt captiously while speaking. [Colloq.] "You catch me up so very short." Dickens.
To catch up
to snatch; to take up suddenly.