Cat Words, Phrases N Expressions

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Cat Words, Phrases N Expressions - Vocabulary for Ailurophiles

AILUROPHILE...One who loves cats...ETYMOLOGY: Greek ailouros, cat + –phile. The term comes from Herodotus, the Greek historian who called the cats that he found in Egypt "ailuroi" - tail wavers.

The English word cat dates back centuries. It's roots are in the Latin cattus which is purported to be from Africa, in the Berber word kaddiska and the Nubian word kadis...all of which have the same meaning "cat."  The various European words for cat are similar: French-chat; German-Katze; Italian-gatto, Spanish-gato; Swedish-katt; and Dutch-kat.

Feline::of or belonging to the family Felidae, which includes domestic cats.

Catty: People exchange slurs and snide remarks about someone and someone interjects with, "meow!" Translation...catty. The dictionary has several different meaning for the word catty, such as stealthy, aloof or agile. The usual meaning is, "slyly spiteful." A cat has no ability to gossip or criticize!

Kitttenish: Kittens really are playful and frisky, hence the word...kittenish.

Scaredy Cat: A dog is more likely to attack something bigger than itself than a cat is. A cat will attack things smaller than itself such as a mouse, but if faced with a bigger attacker, they don't lie down and whimper. A cat's view is more pragmatic, that is: kill small things, flee the big if possible, fight off the big ones if necessary and do gown fighting!

To cry or screech like a cat in heat
To make a shrill, discordant sound
To have a noisy argument


/kadər wôl/

gerund or present participle: caterwauling

(of a cat) make a shrill howling or wailing noise.
"the caterwauling of a pair of bobcats"

synonyms: howl, wail, bawl, cry, yell, scream, screech, yowl, ululate
"we could hear those felines caterwauling all night" 

Clowder - A group of cats or other small felines.

Catwalk: a narrow walkway, especially one high above the surrounding area, used to provide access or allow workers to stand or move, as over the stage in a theater, outside the roadway of a bridge, along the top of a railroad car, etc.

Cat-and-Mouse: This old expression has a couple of meanings. Both are similar. Tormenting something before defeating it-the idea that cats play with their prey before killing it and pursuit with near capture and escapes before the final capture-as in "she liked to read  cat-and-mouse mystery novels."

Belling the cat: One of the many fables attributed to the Greek storyteller Aesop concerns a meeting of mice. They are concerned about a cat. One mouse has an ingenious idea: tie a bell around the cat's neck so they can hear the cat when it is coming. A wonderful idea but with a problem...which mouse is going to put the  bell on the cat? The job would be suicide. No one volunteered. The phrase belling the cat is still in use today. It refers to any idea that looks good on paper but is useless in the real world.

Pussycat: A female cat is technically a queen and not a pussycat. In early times, people referred to any cat as a pussycat. With the advance of vulgarity, people began to connect pussycat to mean female cat. Linguists tell us that the old Germanic word puss referred to the female body's sexual area, so the word hasn't changed much. It is anyone's guess how the word came to be connected with cats!

Let the cat out of the bag: To reveal a secret. In medieval times, piglets were taken to markets and sold in sacks. Occasionally, an unscrupulous vendor would try to pass off a cat or puppy in a bag as a piglet. If the cat escaped in view of the potential buyer, so did the secret.

Kitty-corner or catty-corner: Comes from catercorner, the old dialectical term for diagonal, which itself comes from the French word "quatre," or four.

Raining cats and dogs: A driving rain. This ever-popular expression first appeared in print in 1653. ("It shall raine ... dogs and polecats.") No one has a definitive explanation for where it comes from, but everyone has a theory.

Not enough room to swing a cat: A crowded, tight space. This phrase possibly deals with cruelty to humans, not animals. Theories say it refers to the cat o’ nine tails, a pronged whip used for punishment on boats at sea. There wasn’t enough room below decks to perform the punishment, so it was always done on the deck. The phrase could also relate to the use of cats that were swung into the air as targets for archers.

Cat Nights: This term harks back to the days when people believed in witches. An old Irish legend says that a witch could turn into a cat and regain herself eight times, but on the ninth time, in August, she couldn’t change back, hence the saying: “A cat has nine lives.” Because August is a “yowly” time for cats, this may have prompted the speculation about witches on the prowl in the first place.


an English tailor in the late seventeen

and early eighteen hundreds

made fine silk pajamas for royalty

and other rich patrons.

His name was E. B. Katz.

His marketing

as well as his workmanship

was considered outstanding.

King George III

favored Katz’s pyjamas

for its fine color and silk

over any other sleepwear.

The phrase

"the cat's pyjamas"

became popular

in the United States

in the 1920's.

During that time, pyjamas

were a relatively new fashion style.

In addition, the word CAT

was used as a term to describe

the flappers of the jazz era - and men

who were fortunate enough to see

a beautiful woman dressed

in fashionable lounging pyjamas

would comment on his luck as being

“the cat’s pyjamas.”

It Is Enough To Make A Cat Laugh:  idiom
This expression dates from the mid 19th century and is associated with the story of Puss in Boots a European literary fairy tale about a cat who uses trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth, and the hand of a princess in marriage for his penniless and low-born master.


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