What does catch the sun mean?

  • 1
    I guess you’re not thinking of “Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight”, right? :-P
    – PLL
    Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 10:19
  • I've also heard catch some rays to mean the same thing as sunbathing.
    – going
    Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 21:55

4 Answers 4


It generally means that you're looking a little sunburnt.

  • Is the past tense used, in this case?
    – apaderno
    Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 12:11
  • Yes, normally something like, "Ooooh, it looks like you've caught the sun!". As someone who burns easily, I've had this said to me on a few occasions. :-S Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 12:23

A corner of a garden, or a balconey can 'catch the sun' if it's correctly positioned and not overshadowed.


I have heard Americans use this phrase. It generally means sunbathe ("I'm gonna catch some sun this weekend").

  • The Corpus of Contemporary American English reports the phrase catch the sun.
    – apaderno
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 11:40
  • 4
    The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English entry reports "catch the sun" as British English and "get some sun" as American English. ldoceonline.com/dictionary/sun_1 if someone catches or gets the sun, they become slightly red or brown because they have been outside in the sun
    – Manjima
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 18:37
  • 2
    You're right, you're all right. I answered the question I heard in my head, not the question he actually wrote. Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 19:46
  • 2
    I've never heard it to mean sunbathe. If you've caught some sun you're a bit sunburnt, probably unintentionally.
    – TRiG
    Commented Oct 15, 2010 at 16:32
  • 2
    @TRiG -- that's sarcasm, like telling someone with a hangover "You look like you had a good time." "Catch some sun" and "catch some rays" mean sunbathe just as "catch some sleep" (or "zzzs" or "shuteye") means take a nap. Commented Feb 23, 2011 at 4:26

If you live in the the Northwest, you may leave work a little early during the winter in order to "catch the sun."

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