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something designed to cover a variety of situations or possibilities
(as modifier): a catch-all clause

Contemporary Examples

In the blink of an eye, the hipster has turned into a catch-all scapegoat, guilty for everything from expensive beer to bad music.
Why Do We Hate Hipsters So F’ing Much? Ted Gioia July 12, 2014

When it was first announced, I thought it was a catch-all visit designed to accomplish several objectives at once.
Obama And Bibi Make Nice Brent E. Sasley March 20, 2013

“Dyslexia” has become a catch-all term for everything from poor reading skills to complex speech disorders.
Your Kid’s Dyslexia Diagnosis Is B.S. Julian Elliot March 31, 2014

He was accused of “formalism,” a catch-all accusation that, like “Trotskyite,” had the ring of execution about it.
When Stalin Met Lady Macbeth Brian Moynahan November 8, 2014

Or is “culture” just a catch-all for “everything we can’t readily understand and explain”?
What Romney Meant to Say (Part 3) David Frum August 1, 2012

Historical Examples

The heavy smell of musk that hung around all of Mabel’s belongings sickened me; and why should she make a catch-all of me, anyhow?
At Boarding School with the Tucker Twins Nell Speed

That closet was a catch-all for all manner of odds and ends.
The Corner House Girls’ Odd Find Grace Brooks Hill

It seemed to have been designed as a catch-all for everything that can damage it.
Following the Equator, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

The wagon was quickly taken apart and pieces of wire found in the closet which was a catch-all.
The Woodcraft Girls at Camp Lillian Elizabeth Roy

One large table, covered with a pretty embroidered cloth, should be placed in some central location for a catch-all.
The Ladies Book of Useful Information Anonymous


also catchall, 1838, from catch (v.) + all.


Read Also:

  • Catchable

    to seize or capture, especially after pursuit: to catch a criminal; to catch a runaway horse. to trap or ensnare: to catch a fish. to intercept and seize; take and hold (something thrown, falling, etc.): to catch a ball; a barrel to catch rain. to come upon suddenly; surprise or detect, as in some action: […]

  • Catchall

    a bag, basket, or other receptacle for odds and ends. something that covers a wide variety of items or situations: The list is just a catchall of things I want to see or do on vacation. covering a wide variety of items or situations: The anthology is a catchall collection. Contemporary Examples Kocurek said he […]

  • Catchcry

    noun (pl) -cries (Austral) a well-known, frequently used phrase, esp one associated with a particular group, etc

  • Catcher

    a person or thing that catches. Baseball. the player stationed behind home plate, whose chief duty is to catch pitches not hit by the batter. a member of an aerialist team, as in a circus, who hangs head down from a trapeze and catches another member who has completed a jump or somersault through the […]

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