cat and mouse
- Also called cat and rat. a children's game in which players in a circle keep a player from moving into or out of the circle and permit a second player to move into or out of the circle to escape the pursuing first player.
- Western U.S. tick-tack-toe(def 1).
- play cat and mouse, to engage in a gamelike relationship in which evasion and pursuit are used: They played cat and mouse for a while before she consented to go out with him.
- play cat and mouse with,
- to toy or trifle with.
- to use strategy on one's opponent, especially while waiting to strike: The detective played cat and mouse with the suspect.
Origin of cat and mouse
First recorded in 1910–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cat and mouse
So Western governments are caught in a cat-and-mouse game and at times it is unclear who is the cat and who the mouse.ISIS Has a Message. Do We?
December 8, 2014
He became suspicious and so began what he refers to as a “cat-and-mouse game” between him and his former agency.How Models Get Robbed on the Runway
May 7, 2014
The revelations in October began a game of cat-and-mouse between the Demon Killer and the police.‘I Will Commit a Massacre’
Jake Adelstein, Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky
February 25, 2013
Meanwhile, I don't know what happens to the employees, who are the mouse in this cat-and-mouse game.Counting Full Time Employees
January 18, 2013
Lipkin-Shahak was no stranger to the cat-and-mouse dynamic that has so often kept the Middle East in a chokehold.Saying Goodbye To Lipkin-Shahak
December 19, 2012
She had been playing with him––playing with him cat-and-mouse fashion.Once to Every Man
Evidently, he must play the cat-and-mouse act about the piles of supplies and machinery.Panther Eye
Roy J. Snell
At least, I haven't got that cat-and-mouse kind of patience.Regiment of Women
It was like playing a game of cat-and-mouse with him, Wilson Lamb, the cat.
Did it mean that, after all, he had been playing at cat-and-mouse with her, as she had at first feared?The White Moll
Frank L. Packard