Catch vs. Ketch

Photo of author


Catch and ketch are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words catch and ketch, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Catch may be used as an irregular verb to mean to capture or snare something; to take hold of something that has been thrown; to grasp something or someone who is trying to get away; to surprise someone in the middle of an act; to contract a disease; to capture someone’s interest; or to overtake. Irregular verbs are ones that do not take the standard -d, -ed, or -ied spelling pattern in the past tense. Related words are catches, caught, catching. The word catch may also be used as a noun to mean the act of catching something; an emotional crack in one’s voice; a fastener for a door, window, necklace, chest, etc.; a hidden problem; or an attractive person. The word catch is derived from the Latin word captiare, which means to chase.

A ketch is a two-masted sailboat. The word ketch is probably derived from the Middle English word, cacchen, which means to capture.


Recreational fishing will return to Hope Pond this year, but catching a fish will be a little more difficult without the “overstocking” that typically occurs for the youth fishing derby, according to Recreation Director David Pannone. (Valley Breeze)

The idea is for the contraption to learn how to cup the hand quickly enough to catch the ball. (New Scientist Magazine)

Aboard our ketch, Ganesh, my wife, Carolyn, and I, for instance, lucked out because we had planned on being in Singapore in late 2019 to visit our daughter, Roma Orion, and grandkids Sokù Orion and Tessa Maria. (Cruising World Magazine)

Among the boats in the show are a 1920s lobster boat and launch, a cat ketch and an 1890s-styled racing boat. (Jamestown Press)

Enjoyed reading about these homophones? Check out some others we covered: