play catch up

catch-up

[kach-uhp]
noun
1.
an effort to reach or pass a norm, especially after a period of delay: After the slowdown there was a catch-up in production.
2.
an effort to catch up with or surpass a competitor, as in a sports contest.
3.
an instance of catching up.
adjective
4.
intended to keep up with or surpass a norm or competitor: a catch-up pay raise to offset inflation.
Idioms
5.
play catch-up, Informal. to make a special effort to overcome a late start, a liability, or the advantage a competitor has: After Russia launched the first space satellite, other countries had to play catch-up.

Origin:
1835–45, Americanism; noun, adj. use of verb phrase catch up

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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