from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A container; a receptacle.
  • noun A container with its contents.
  • noun A decorative or protective covering or cover.
  • noun A set or pair.
  • noun The frame or framework of a window, door, or stairway.
  • noun The surface or outer layer of a metal alloy.
  • noun A shallow compartmented tray for storing type or type matrices.
  • noun The form of a written, printed, or keyed letter that distinguishes it as being lowercase or uppercase.
  • transitive verb To put into or cover with a case; encase.
  • transitive verb Slang To examine carefully, as in planning a crime.
  • noun An instance or occurrence of a particular kind or category: synonym: example.
  • noun An occurrence of a disease or disorder.
  • noun A set of circumstances or a state of affairs; a situation.
  • noun Actual fact; reality.
  • noun A question or problem; a matter.
  • noun A situation that requires investigation, especially by a formal or official body.
  • noun An action or a suit or just grounds for an action.
  • noun The facts or evidence offered in support of a claim.
  • noun A set of reasons or supporting facts; an argument.
  • noun A person being assisted, treated, or studied, as by a physician, lawyer, or social worker.
  • noun Informal A peculiar or eccentric person; a character.
  • noun In traditional grammar, a distinct form of a noun, pronoun, or modifier that is used to express one or more particular syntactic relationships to other words in a sentence.
  • noun In some varieties of generative grammar, the thematic or semantic role of a noun phrase as represented abstractly but not necessarily indicated overtly in surface structure. In such frameworks, nouns in English have Case even in the absence of inflectional case endings.
  • idiom (in any case) Regardless of what has occurred or will occur.
  • idiom (in case) If it happens that; if.
  • idiom (in case) As a precaution.
  • idiom (in case of) If there should happen to be.
  • idiom (off (someone's) case) No longer nagging or urging someone to do something.
  • idiom (on (someone's) case) Persistently nagging or urging someone to do something.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In the tobacco trade, the state of the leaf, during and after the process of curing, with respect to moisture-content and pliability: common in such phrases as in case (more or less moist), in good case (with the right degree of moisture), too high case, etc. See order, 17.
  • noun An action brought, usually by agreement between parties, in which the constitutionality or validity of an act will be brought in question and judicially determined.
  • noun That which incloses or contains; a covering, box, or sheath: as, a case for knives; a case for books; a watch-case; a pillow-case.
  • noun Specifically A quiver.
  • noun The skin of an animal; in heraldry, the skin of a beast displayed with the head, feet, tail, etc.
  • noun The exterior portion of a building; an outer coating for walls.
  • noun A box and its contents; hence, a quantity contained in a box. Specifically — A pair; a set.
  • noun Among glaziers, 225 square feet of crown-glass; also, 120 feet of Newcastle or Normandy glass.
  • noun In printing, a shallow tray of wood divided by partitions into small boxes of different sizes, in which the characters of a font of printing-types are placed for the use of the compositor.
  • noun In bookbinding, a book-cover made separately from the book it is intended to inclose.
  • noun A triangular sac or cavity in the right side of the nose and upper portion of the head of a sperm-whale, containing oil and spermaceti, which are together called head-matter.
  • noun 9. In milit. engin., a square or rectangular frame made from four pieces of plank joined at the corners, used (in juxtaposition to similar frames) to form a lining for a gallery or branch.
  • noun In loam-molding, the outer portion of a mold. Also called cope.
  • noun In porcelain-making, same as saggar.
  • noun Milit., same as case-shot.
  • noun In mining, a fissure through which water finds its way into a mine.
  • noun The wooden frame in which a door is hung. Also called casing.
  • noun The wall surrounding a staircase. Also called casing.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English cas, from Old French, from Latin cāsus, from past participle of cadere, to fall.
Middle English, from Norman French casse, from Latin capsa.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English cas, from Old English cas, casus ("noun case"), from Old French cas ("an event"), from Latin casus ("a falling, a fall; accident, event, occurrence; occasion, opportunity; noun case"), perfect passive participle of cado ("to fall, to drop"), from Proto-Indo-European *kad- (“to fall”).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English cas, from Old Northern French casse, Old French chasse ("box, chest, case"), from Latin capsa ("box, bookcase"), from capio ("to take, seize, hold").


  • In either case, the blood will reflow upon the heart, and dilate the left ventricle, as in _case the first_, and others; and, if the mitral valves be thickened and rigid, the left auricle will be more dilated than in a case of simple aneurism of the left ventricle, as appeared also in the _first case_.

    Cases of Organic Diseases of the Heart

  • Evidence and economic theory suggests that control of the Internet by the phone and cable companies would lead to blocking of competing technologies (as in theMadison River case), blocking of innovative technologiesthat may not even compete with the phone/cablecartel (according to Comcast itself, theComcast/BitTorrent case would be an example), andincreased spying on Internet users.

    Marvin Ammori: Models for the Internet's Future: Obama-Open or Julius-Closed

  • So, when we place a noun before a verb as actor or subject, we say it is in the _nominative case_; but when it follows a transitive verb or preposition, we say it has another _case_; that is, it assumes a new _position_ or _situation_ in the sentence: and this we call the _objective_ case.

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures

  • +_Remember_+ that a noun or pronoun used as an _explanatory modifier_ is in the same case as the word which it explains, and that a noun or pronoun used _independently_ is in the _nominative case_.

    Graded Lessons in English an Elementary English Grammar Consisting of One Hundred Practical Lessons, Carefully Graded and Adapted to the Class-Room

  • If it be ‘case’ (I choose it as Jargon’s dearest child—‘in Heaven yclept Metonomy’) turn to the dictionary, if you will, and seek out what meaning can be derived from casus, its Latin ancestor: then try how, with a little trouble, you can extricate yourself from that case.

    V. Interlude: On Jargon

  • It says ‘In the case of John Jenkins deceased, the coffin’ when it means ‘John Jenkins’s coffin’: and its yea is not yea, neither is its nay nay: but its answer is in the affirmative or in the negative, as the foolish and superfluous ‘case’ may be.

    V. Interlude: On Jargon

  • But here are a few specimens far, very far, worse: —The special difficulty in Professor Minocelsi’s case [our old friend ‘case’ again] arose in connexion with the view he holds relative to the historical value of the opening pages of Genesis.

    V. Interlude: On Jargon

  • It cannot be too emphatically insisted upon that every case of typhoid, like every case of yellow fever and of malaria, _comes from a previous case_.

    Preventable Diseases

  • It reaches _the case, the question_; it attaches the power of the national judicature to the _case_ itself, in whatever court it may arise or exist; and in this _case_ the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction over all courts whatever.

    Select Speeches of Daniel Webster, 1817-1845

  • A Whig proves his case convincingly to the reader who knows nothing beyond his author; then comes an old Tory (Carte, for instance), and ferrets up a hamperful of conflicting documents and notices, which proves _his _case _per contra_.

    Specimens of the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Making love, of course, is already prayer.

    Skin, and open mouths worshipping that skin,

    the fragile cases we are poured into.

    - Ellen Bass, 'Pray For Peace'.

    September 7, 2009