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[kat-nip] /ˈkæt nɪp/
a plant, Nepeta cataria, of the mint family, having egg-shaped leaves containing aromatic oils that are a cat attractant.
Also, especially British, catmint.
Origin of catnip
1705-15, Americanism; cat + nip, variant of Middle English nep catnip, apocopated variant of Old English nepte < Medieval Latin nepta, variant of Latin nepeta Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for catnip
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On the homeward way they turned into a lane and came to a clump of catnip.

    A Night Out Edward Peple
  • The newspapers pounced on them with joy, as cats pounce and purr on catnip.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • catnip may be cultivated for the bees and sold as an herb as well.

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
  • It was like throwing a cat into a bed of catnip and expecting him to be calm.

  • The sight of a snowstorm affects a child as the smell of catnip affects a cat.


    Dallas Lore Sharp
British Dictionary definitions for catnip


another name for catmint
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for catnip

1712, American English, from cat (n.) + nip, from Old English nepte "catnip," from Latin nepta, name of an aromatic herb. The older name is Middle English catmint (mid-13c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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