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Kilkenny cats

plural noun
a pair of proverbial cats in Ireland who fought until only their tails were left.
Origin of Kilkenny cats
First recorded in 1815-25 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Kilkenny cats
Historical Examples
  • Both soides is fightin' like a pair o' Kilkenny cats, so they are!

    At the Fall of Port Arthur

    Edward Stratemeyer
  • And a gang of tough kids sprang up called the "Kilkenny cats," with which my gang used to fight.

    Tramping on Life Harry Kemp
  • Unless something had been done the fight would have ended very much like the proverbial one of the Kilkenny cats.

  • If that were accomplished some prophesied that its members would but emulate the fame of the Kilkenny cats.

    Ireland In The New Century Horace Plunkett
  • Of all lands she might best afford a realistic presentment of the sad tale of the Kilkenny cats.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • The celebrated Kilkenny cats, through their tumultuous congress, cleaving the ear of Night, could they be said to do nothing?

    Past and Present Thomas Carlyle
  • It would make Macduff fall into the arms of Macbeth; it would tranquillize the Kilkenny cats themselves!

    Robinetta Kate Douglas Wiggin

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