AskDefine | Define catchword

Dictionary Definition

catchword n : a favorite saying of a sect or political group [syn: motto, slogan, shibboleth]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈkætʃwɜːd/


  1. A word under the right-hand side of the last line on a book page that repeats the first word on the following page.
  2. A word or expression repeated until it becomes representative of a party, school, business, or point of view.


Extensive Definition

Catchword is also a name for a headword in a dictionary.
For the game show, see Catchword (game show).
A catchword is a word placed at the foot of a handwritten or printed page that is meant to be bound along with other pages in a book. The word anticipates the first word of the following page. It was meant to help the bookbinder (in the case of manuscripts) or the printer (in the case of printed books) make sure that the leaves were bound in the right order or that the pages were set up in the press in the right order. Catchwords appear in some medieval manuscripts, and appear again in printed books late in the fifteenth century. The practice became widespread in the mid sixteenth century, and prevailed until the arrival of industrial printing techniques late in the eighteenth century.

See also


  • De Hamel, Christopher. Scribes and Illuminators. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992. 41.
  • Gaskell, Gaskell. A New Introduction to Bibliography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972. 52-53.
  • McKerrow, Ronald B. An Introduction to Bibliography for Literary Students. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964. 82.
  • Roberts, Matt T., and Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology
catchword in Icelandic: Griporð
catchword in French: réclame (imprimerie)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acknowledgments, adage, ana, analects, aphorism, apothegm, axiom, back, back matter, bastard title, battle cry, bibliography, bugle call, byword, call to arms, call-up, catch line, catch phrase, clarion, clarion call, cliche, clue, collected sayings, colophon, conscription, contents, contents page, copyright page, cry, cue, cue word, current saying, dedication, device, dictate, dictum, distich, endleaf, endpaper, endsheet, epigram, epigraph, epithet, errata, evidence, exhortation, expression, fad word, flyleaf, folio, fore edge, foreword, front matter, gnome, go for broke, golden saying, gung ho, half-title page, head, hint, hot lead, imprint, index, inscription, intimation, introduction, key, key word, lead, leaf, levy, makeup, maxim, mobilization, moral, mot, motto, muster, oracle, page, pet expression, phrase, pithy saying, precept, preface, preliminaries, prescript, proverb, proverbial saying, proverbs, rally, rallying cry, rebel yell, recruitment, recto, reverso, running title, saw, saying, scent, sentence, sententious expression, shibboleth, signature, slogan, sloka, spoor, stock saying, subtitle, suggestion, sutra, table of contents, tag line, tail, teaching, telltale, text, tip-off, title, title page, trace, trim size, trumpet call, type page, verse, verso, vestige, vogue word, war cry, war whoop, watchword, whiff, wisdom, wisdom literature, wise saying, witticism, word, words of wisdom
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