catch on



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catch on (third-person singular simple present catches on, present participle catching on, simple past and past participle caught on)

  1. (intransitive, idiomatic) To begin to understand; to realize.
    He didn't have to explain; I caught on right away.
  2. (intransitive, idiomatic) To become popular; to become commonplace; to become the standard.
    It's a crummy idea, and I certainly hope it does not catch on.
    At first, many people didn't like that kind of music, but after a while it caught on.
  3. (intransitive, New England, dated, of food) To become stuck to the cooking vessel; to brown or burn slightly.
    • 2011, Maine Classics: More than 150 Delicious Recipes from Down East, Philadelphia: Running Press, →ISBN, page 172:
      They waited for the pot roast to "catch on," sticking to the pot just enough to brown