List of idioms with the word “Catch” and the meanings. Idioms about “Catch” and expressions.
Catch (someone) red-handed:
to catch someone in the act of committing some offense
1. The little girl’s mother caught her red-handed trying to steal cookies from the cookie jar.
2. The two men dropped the stolen goods when they heard the police car sirens. They didn’t want to get caught red-handed.
Dating from the 15th century, this idiom is a reference to the notion of killers being caught with the blood of their victims on their hands. The meaning later expanded to being caught in the act of any kind of wrongdoing.
Catch (someone’s) eye:
to attract someone’s visual attention
1. I was walking past some stores when a beautiful red dress in one of the windows caught my eye.
2. When the girls met their mother in front of the post office, they could see her walking towards them in the crowd, but couldn’t catch her eye.
Catch (somenone’s) fancy:
to appeal to someone
1. Daniel arrived at the party not expecting to have a good time, but he met someone there who caught his fancy and spent the entire evening talking to her.
2. Before you decide that you don’t want anything for your birthday, let’s go to the jewelry store. You might see something there that catches your fancy.
the best one can do with whatever is available.
We went hitchhiking for a week and lived catch-as-catch-can.
There were ten children in our family, and every meal was catch-as-catch-can.
catch cold and take cold to contract a cold (the disease).
Please close the window, or we’ll all catch cold.
I take cold every year at this time.
catch fire and catch on fire to ignite and burn with flames.
Keep your coat away from the flames, or it will catch fire.
Lightning struck the prairie, and the grass caught on fire.
catch forty winks and catch some Zs:
to take a nap; to get some sleep. (Informal or slang.)
I’ll just catch forty winks before getting ready for the party.
Tom always tries to catch some Zs before going out for a late evening.
catch hold of someone or something:
and catch a hold of someone or something; catch hold to grasp someone or something.
She caught hold of Billy just as he slipped and fell.
She almost failed to catch hold.
Here, catch a hold of this rope.
catch it to get into trouble and receive punishment.
I know I’m going to catch it when I get home.
Bob hit Billy in the face. He really caught it from the teacher.
catch on to someone or something and catch on:
to figure someone or something out; to solve a puzzle; to see through an act of deception.
Mary caught on to Bob and his tricks.
Ann caught on to the woman’s dishonest plan.
The woman thought that Ann wouldn’t catch on.
catch one with one’s pants down:
to catch someone doing something, especially something that ought to be done in secret or in private. (Informal. Use with caution. This probably refers indirectly to having one’s pants down in the bathroom.)
John couldn’t convince them he was innocent. They caught him with his pants down. □ Did you hear that John took the camera? The store owner caught him with his pants down.
catch one’s breath:
to resume one’s normal breathing after exertion; to return to normal after being busy or very active.
I don’t have time to catch my breath.
I ran so fast that it took ten minutes to catch my breath.
catch one’s death of cold and catch one’s death; take one’s death of cold to contract a cold; to catch a serious cold.
If I go out in this weather, I’ll catch my death of cold.
Dress up warm or you’ll take your death of cold.
Put on your raincoat, or you ‘ll catch your death.
catch sight of someone or something:
to see someone or something briefly; to get a glimpse of someone or something.
I caught sight of the rocket just before it flew out of sight.
Ann caught sight of the robber as he ran out of the bank.
catch someone in the act of doing something and catch someone in the act to catch a person doing something illegal or private.
They know who set the fire. They caught someone in the act.
I caught Tom in the act of stealing a car. ALSO: caught in the act seen doing something illegal or private.
Tom was caught in the act.
She’s guilty. She was caught in the act.
catch someone off balance:
to catch a person who is not prepared; to surprise someone.
Sorry I acted so flustered. You caught me off balance.
The robbers caught Ann off balance and stole her purse.
catch someone off guard:
and catch one off one’s guard to catch a person at a time of carelessness. (Compare to catch someone off balance.)
Tom caught Ann off guard andfrightened her.
She caught me off my guard, and I told the location of the jewels.
catch up to someone or something:
and catch up with someone or something; catch up to move faster in order to reach someone or something who is moving in the same direction.
The red car caught up with the blue one.
Bill caught up with Ann, and they walked to the bank together.
He had to run to catch up to her.
caught in the cross-fire:
1. caught between two fighting people or groups.
In Western movies, innocent people are always getting caught in the crossfire.
In the war, Corporal Smith was killed when he got caught in the crossfire. 2. See the following entry.
caught in the middle and caught in the cross-fire caught between two arguing people or groups, making it difficult to remain neutral.
The cook and the dishwasher were having an argument, and Tom got caught in the middle. All he wanted was his dinner.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith tried to draw me into their argument. I don’t like being caught in the middle.
Bill and Ann were arguing, and poor Bobby, their son, was caught in the cross-fire.
to be without something you need, especially money.
I needed eggs for my cake, but I was caught short.
Bob had to borrow money from John to pay for the meal. Bob is caught short quite often.