The Many Meanings of Catch (Catch on, Catch up, a Catch, & more) | English Dialogue

Heads up … catch! This seemingly (or should I say “deceptively”) simple word is stuffed and loaded with different meanings. Do the many uses of “catch” confuse you? Here I want to look at the traditional meanings, as well as some common slang and figurative uses of the word. There are also short and realistic dialogues to help. So, are you ready to catch some knowledge? Let’s do it.

The normal meaning of Catch

Normally, to Catch means to receive something that is thrown or has fallen. As people, we mostly catch things with our hands.


 — “Look, Charles, I got you a new iPhone charger. Catch!”

While attempting to grab the charger, Charles accidentally dropped his phone onto the floor.

 — “Gee, thanks! Now I’m going to need a new iPhone too.”

 — “Well, you should have caught it before it hit the ground.”

Catch something (figuratively)

As you can imagine, “catch” also has several figurative and even slang meanings. As a verb, you can catch something not visible such as an illness or some attention.


 — “Did you hear what happened to Kevin Hart? He said he caught the ‘Vid’,” Charles said to his friend, Jonah, sitting behind him. Jonah gave him a firm Shhh! 

 — “Be quiet, man! Whenever I talk in class, I catch an angry look from Ms. Delaware. You’ll get me in trouble.”

‘Catching’ someone

Another meaning is when you catch someone, or find them. Usually, this is while they are doing something they shouldn’t be.

 — “Hey, Sheila. Do you think we could take your little bro out for ice cream?”

 — “I don’t know. He got caught eating cookies out of the cookie jar last night. I think he’s had enough sweets.”

 — “Well, we could always take him to the Salad Bar,” Charles suggested.

 — “Oh, no. You won’t catch me anywhere near that place.”

Still, catch can be about meeting another person, in general. This is usually at a designated time or place.

 — “I hope we can hang out soon, Sheila. What do you think?”

 — “For sure! I’ll catch you after our game tomorrow.”

Other random meanings of Catch

To catch can be to understand what someone else said or what has happened. It’s usually said as a question to check for comprehension or as a way to show a lack of understanding.


Jonah’s mind wandered as he daydreamed about the upcoming game that night. Suddenly, he realized Charles had been mumbling at him for the past five minutes.

 — “Sorry, what did you say? I didn’t catch that.”

 — “I was telling you about my plans to quit working for this lousy school. Did you catch it this time?!”

… Or, going to see something, such as an event. 


 — “Do you want to catch a movie after you get off work?” Charles asked Sheila. She turned at him and grinned.

 — “Yeah … Or, we could go to the game like everyone else.”

Or, boarding a transportation vehicle. 



Sheila gave Charles a big hug.

 — “I have to catch this bus. If you want to see a movie, it’s fine. Can we talk later?”

 — “Yeah, either way is fine. Let me know. Maybe we can catch a ride together.”

Phrasal verbs: Catch on, Catch up

And that’s just “Catch” by itself. Of course, there are also phrasal verbs like catch on — to begin to understand something — or catch up — to reach a desired point in understanding or place from behind.


 — It used to be so much fun to speak in German around your friends. I think they’re starting to learn now.

 — Right, especially Mark didn’t use to understand our conversations, but now he’s catching on.

 — It’s about time! Why is Mark so far behind in his German, anyway? He needs to catch up!

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A Catch, as a noun

All verbs aside, there is also catch used as a noun. A catch is a hidden condition or problem when something seems too good to be true.


Charles looked at his neighbor in disbelief. 

“You’ll give me this car for four hundred bucks and all repairs are up to date? What’s the catch?”

 — “No catch! It’s a good car, man. What, you don’t believe me?”

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A catch can also be a person who seems like a perfect match, or a great person to be in a relationship with. They are like the ideal partner.


 — I don’t know why you’re so in-love with Sheila. Look at Jenny. She’s the boss of her own business, helps her community, and owns a Benz. She’s a catch, for sure.

 — “Uh-huh, Jonah. Total catch.”


**These are just some of the main uses of “catch”. Can you think of any others meanings? Can you think of your own examples for these words? Share it with us and spread the English love! Thanks for reading and learning. Take care out there.

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Contact or collaborate at tietewaller@gmail.com

Everyday Expressions about Cars and Driving (part 2) – English List

dark Porsche car driving at sunset, related to the topic of words about cars and driving
Peter Miranda

Welcome to this version of English List. Cars have had such a huge impact on that language–the English one–and we’re here to prove it! This is part 2 of Everyday Expressions about Cars and Driving, including some terms that can be used for both vehicles and other life situations.

For English students, these can be a cool way for you to liven up your word choice and vocabulary. Otherwise, you may just like driving cars or be an awesome English-speaking person that loves to learn. Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy the article. Feel free to give your own examples, ask questions, give feedback, do whatever!

Alrighty, let’s get rolling.

Read Part 1: Some Everyday Expressions about Cars & Driving

Full Tank

Powered up

It’s easy to imagine the benefits of a full tank of gas. Similarly, when talking about people, we can say that person has a full tank. This is like saying that they are full of energy, ready to go, and pumped full of enthusiasm. There’s also the expression “on full,” which is the opposite of “on E” (on empty). Careful, though! “On F” isn’t quite a popular expression (yet).

No stopping … no stopping

  • Let’s make sure the truck’s got a full tank so we don’t have to stop the whole trip.
  • He has been running for hours and is still on a full tank! Can you believe it?

Roll up (the window)

Windows shut

This one may sound obvious, but it might not be so for English learners. When talking about making the window go up in a car, we can say roll the window up or roll up the window (it works the same for “down” too). Roll up by itself also has a multitude of meanings. It can be as simple as “to roll something” or to “arrive or go somewhere.”

Read also: Roll out, rolling, & other expressions

Getting there

  • Can you please roll the window up? It’s freezing in here!
  • I have to roll up my clothes so that they can fit in my suitcase.
  • Do you feel like rolling up to my cousin’s house? You know, she’s the one with the big TV.

Junk in the trunk

Big things in the back

This phrase is near and dear to many English speakers. Literally, it refers to having too much “junk”, or lots of random and useless objects, in the trunk of one’s car. Junk in the trunk can also be used to talk about people, especially women, saying that they have a big behind. This is actually the first thing that will come to mind to most English speakers when this silly phrase is said.

It is a very playful expression, used mostly with people we are really comfortable with, and it can be a really funny thing to say.

A beautiful mess

  • Do you know if Tyler has any jumper cables? There’s so much junk in his trunk, I can’t find it.
  • Mark told me I had a lot of junk in my trunk. Uh, I think he likes me.

Backseat driver

No driving from the back

Just picture it: you are riding along happily in your car, not a care in the world. Suddenly, you hear a voice from the back seat telling you to turn your blinkers on before you switch lanes. That’s decent advice, but still, nobody likes a backseat driver.

This expression is used to refer to someone who is giving instructions or directions but is “out of line” to. Maybe they are unqualified, or maybe they just weren’t a part of the conversation, to begin with.

Input from the sidelines

  • I thought to tell you to slow down, but I didn’t want to be a backseat driver.
  • The parents on the other team are such backseat drivers. They should just let the coaches do their jobs, right?

Down the road

What is to come

Driving is a lot more comfortable when you can see far down the road. This expression refers to what is ahead of you, further down the street. In a figurative sense, it means what is ahead in life, as opposed to the actual street or highway. Still, it’s a very useful idiom to know.

Looking forward

  • There’s a new Chipotle that opened up down the road. Want to try it?
  • You should always be prepared because you never know what might happen down the road.

U-turn

Turn it around

When driving, some people get the sudden urge to want to completely change directions on the road. That round 180-degree change is called making a U-turn. Likewise, people can make a “U-turn” in life as they completely change directions or go back to old habits.

Another very informal way of saying this is making a U-ey. (Some also say “pulling” a U-ey, “busting” a U-ey, “flipping” a U-ey, it’s all the same)

Bring it back

  • Sheryl was so happy in retirement. Now, all of a sudden, she did a big U-turn and went back to teaching again.
  • Do you think we can make a U-ey on this road? I think we can.

Run out of steam

Steam-less

No one wants this. When you’re driving and the car suddenly stops working. Apparently it’s got no more gas, no power, and everything says that is has run out of steam. The same idea can go for people when they don’t have the smallest bit of energy left in them.

Run until the running’s done

  • Boy, I sure hope this old truck doesn’t run out of steam before we make it home.
  • Alex started the day off full of energy, but now she looks like she ran out of steam.

Driving (me) nuts!

Nuts and (crazy) berries

Many people like to drive, while others get enraged by it. Driving someone nuts is the same as making them feel crazy. Other ways to say this are driving someone “mad,” driving someone “crazy”, driving someone “bananas,” and driving someone “coocoo”, among others.

This “driving” is usually used with negative emotions, so you would not say “driving me happy,” for example.

Ja-Making me crazy!

  • Is this Camila Cabello? Oh no, her music drives my brother insane.
  • I can’t handle being around kids while they’re crying. They drive me nuts!

Read more expressions about cars and driving: Hubpages


**Thank you for reading! Do you know any other car-related expressions or phrases? Can you use them in a sentence? Feel welcome, this is your place!

Contact for personal messages, English advice, or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com (Contact Page)

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Lead fame hit | What is ‘Clout’? – with dialogue

a businessman and his colleagues in the office, resembling the meaning of clout in business, politics, etc.
Yan Krukov

Meanings of Clout

Welcome to another post and yet another word explanation … sort of. Today’s focus is on “clout,” a word that has resurged up into popularity lately. Clout in normal situations has a couple of different meanings already. It can be a hit or a strike, and also some kind of cloth.

But we don’t want to focus on those definitions. If you’re looking this up, you’re likely searching for the most common use for this word in — American English, anyway — which is having strong influence either in business, politics, or some field related to these.

Read more: Clout in the learner’s dictionary

This meaning, though, has slightly changed in recent times. In some casual or slang contexts, usually in music or on social media, clout refers to general fame or recognition. Someone with clout is in control, calls the shots, and makes the decisions. It’s pretty much the same as being popular.

Read: Clout in the Urban Dictionary

Also, having clout on social media is having lots of popularity (on those media platforms), having lots of followers, getting lots of attention, and so on. Sometimes people who are looking to be more popular or chasing after fame and influence are called clout chasers.

Oh, and perhaps you’ve heard of this?

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Like I said, these meanings are all pretty close to the same thing. Still, informally, clout is more about having fame online or being popular when you go places. The traditional meaning is less about having showy popularity where everybody knows you and more about having real power and leverage to make big changes. This is often in an elite field like politics or business.

Below is a short story featuring the characters from Adventures of Charles. Here, clout is explored with some more or less realistic examples, if you care to see that. Either way, thanks for stopping by. Good luck with your English studies!

‘Lead fame hit’

clout used in sentences

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What a weird story! I can’t believe you and Jonah saw all of those crystals, though. That must have been amazing. You’ll have to take me on your next trip.

Read previous story: Depth trap dive

Charles looked over at his friend, Sheila, with a smile as she steered the wheel. She had a way of making everything seem exciting. Oh, and she made driving look so cool.

–I know, it was amazing! The crystals were just beyond belief.

I guess Charles was also good at that.

Sheila thought for a moment, then decided to say, –I just don’t know how you guys afford these elaborate vacations. Are you guys, like, secretly rich or something? ‘Cus you need to tell me if you are.

Charles laughed and decided to tell the truth.

–Well, you know, I have nothing to do with it. Jonah is the one with all the connections. I think he has some clout with the airlines because of his cousin, so they let him travel when he wants.

  • He has some influence or leverage with this company, he has a certain amount of power and freedom with them.

–That’s dope! she responded enthusiastically, paying closer attention to the street signs now. Charles watched as the red and green streetlights skimmed over her face. –It must be good to have a friend like that.

–Well, I’m sure you have clout too in the music world. You could probably walk into a club and everybody would know who are. And want to buy a drink for you, too.

  • I’m sure you have influence, I’m sure that you are popular in the music world.

Sheila laughed.

–Hey! I ain’t that famous. Not yet, anyway. But I do wish I could get some of that clout on Instagram or something. My songs aren’t reaching the right audiences yet.

  • Get some popularity, more attention, influence on Instagram.

Charles placed a hand on her shoulder, about to say, “Don’t worry, grasshopper. Your time will come,” or something like that. But before he could shed his words, Sheila jerked her neck and turned to the side, pointing her finger at a dark corner building.

–Oh my God! That’s the old studio, she said.

–Really? Charles replied. –It looks barren.

–I know, huh? Let’s go record something! I bet you they still have all the old equipment.

As he undid his seatbelt, Charles nodded and replied, –Old equipment? Look out! Now you’ll really be famous.

Sheila parked the car at the corner by the dark-looking ruin of a building. Charles then took a deep breath, and they went in.

To be continued …

That’s ‘Wack!’ Video Quick Examples – English Expressions

A film projector in the dark, representing a short video about the use of the expression "wack"
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Hello, English learners and enthusiasts. We have this expression or slang word called:

Wack!

This word is used to describe things that are boring, not interesting, of bad quality, or simply not fun. The video below shows how you might use or hear it in normal speech, so please check that out. Let me know what you think! Sorry, my hair was kind of crazy that day. 😀

In the Urban Dictionary

Watch more Videos

Read “wack” in a short story

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