A friend of mine insists that you can 'catch a scare', but I've only ever heard 'get a scare'. I googled the expression and mostly got 'catch a scare card' or 'catch a scare crow', with only one instance where 'cops get a scare from an incident'.

So is 'catch a scare' acceptable as correct British English or correct American English?

  • Never heard of 'catch a scare'. Only 'get a scare'-like expression I've heard is 'you gave me quite a scare.' What, pray tell, would those two expressions mean? – virmaior Jan 2 '14 at 14:16
  • It's easily understood, obviously. But not something native speakers say. There are only two relevant instances of caught a scare in the entire Google Books corpus. – FumbleFingers Jan 2 '14 at 14:16
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a non-existent usage. – FumbleFingers Jan 2 '14 at 14:17
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    @FumbleFingers: that is what I'm trying to ascertain. Note that I did find a news article using it (rutlandherald.com/article/20091103/THISJUSTIN/911030330/1003/…). If it's 'non-existent', how come a (supposedly) native journalist is using it? Could it be a regionalism? – SC for reinstatement of Monica Jan 2 '14 at 14:22
  • @FumbleFingers: If you'd like to post that comment as an answer, I'd accept it. Especially because I'll be citing you to my friend. :) – SC for reinstatement of Monica Jan 2 '14 at 17:22

There certainly are figurative usages involving catch. For example,...

catch a cold slang for to make a loss/lose one's investment
catch it, catch merry hell, etc. be in serious trouble
catch on grasp (understand)
catch the news [find time to] listen to/watch the news on radio/TV
etc., etc.

But there are only two relevant instances of caught a scare in the entire Google Books corpus (and one of those is just wordplay against one has caught measles). I would say it's just an exceptionally rare case of OP's friend (mistakenly?) trying to use the format in contexts where no-one else does.


Google does not know anything about "catch a scare", but about "get a scare" it does.

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