a small domesticated carnivore, Felis domestica or F. catus, bred in a number of varieties.
any of several carnivores of the family Felidae, such as the lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar, etc.
a person, especially a man: I'll admit that I'm not the hippest cat in town but even I know that show.
a devotee of jazz: That cat's got a great ear, but he can't sing or play himself.
a woman given to spiteful or malicious gossip.
Chiefly British. the game of tipcat, or the tapering piece of wood used in the game.
Obsolete. the fur of the domestic cat.
Nautical. a tackle used in hoisting an anchor to the cathead, a projecting timber or metal beam where the anchor is secured.
a double tripod having six legs but resting on only three no matter how it is set down, usually used before or over a fire.
Navy Informal. catapult (def. 2).
(in medieval warfare) a movable shelter for providing protection when approaching a fortification.
to flog with a cat-o'-nine-tails.
Nautical. to hoist (an anchor) and secure to a cathead, a projecting timber or metal beam where the anchor is secured.
British Slang. to vomit.
cat around, Slang.
to seek sexual activity indiscriminately: Many of these celebrities have catted around despite being married.
to spend one's time aimlessly or idly: We're going out to the country to hunt, explore, and just cat around a bit.
Idioms about cat
bell the cat, to attempt something formidable or dangerous: The question at the moment is who will bell the cat, since nobody on the board is willing to tell the CEO she's fired.
cat got your tongue?, (used to ask why someone is not speaking): You've been awfully quiet—cat got your tongue?
curiosity killed the cat. curiosity (def. 5).
enough to make a cat laugh, very funny, outrageous, or absurd: Hearing these politicians talk about the lives of everyday people is enough to make a cat laugh.
fight like cats and dogs. fight (def. 18).
let the cat out of the bag, to divulge a secret, especially inadvertently or carelessly: He let the cat out of the bag, and the surprise party wasn't a surprise after all.
look like something the cat dragged in, to look tired, unkempt, ugly, etc.: You look like something the cat dragged in—go have a shower and a nap.
look what the cat dragged in, Often Facetious. (used to acknowledge someone's arrival while implying that they look bad or are unwelcome): Darn it, he's here. Look what the cat dragged in!
rain cats and dogs. rain (def. 13).
the cat that ate / swallowed / got the canary, someone who is self-satisfied, proud, or pleased: She won the contest by a hair and walked around like the cat that ate the canary for the rest of the month.
Other definitions for Cat (2 of 4)
a Caterpillar tractor.
Other definitions for CAT (3 of 4)
Medicine/Medical. computerized axial tomography.
- Compare CAT scanner.
Other definitions for cat. (4 of 4)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use cat in a sentence
It was in connexion with this exploit that Angus acquired the nickname of “Bell-the-cat.”
But an Archibald Bell-the-cat was not to be found on every hedge.Hereward, The Last of the English | Charles Kingsley
Afterwards the enemy was taken by him, he retaining the cognomen of "Archibald Bell-the-cat."Our Cats and All About Them | Harrison Weir
British Dictionary definitions for cat (1 of 5)
Also called: domestic cat a small domesticated feline mammal, Felis catus (or domesticus), having thick soft fur and occurring in many breeds in which the colour of the fur varies greatly: kept as a pet or to catch rats and mice
Also called: big cat any of the larger felines, such as a lion or tiger
any wild feline mammal of the genus Felis, such as the lynx or serval, resembling the domestic cat: Related adjective: feline
old-fashioned a woman who gossips maliciously
slang a man; guy
nautical a heavy tackle for hoisting an anchor to the cathead
a short sharp-ended piece of wood used in the game of tipcat
short for catboat
informal short for Caterpillar
short for cat-o'-nine-tails
a bag of cats Irish informal a bad-tempered person: she's a real bag of cats this morning
fight like Kilkenny cats to fight until both parties are destroyed
let the cat out of the bag to disclose a secret, often by mistake
like a cat on a hot tin roof or like a cat on hot bricks in an uneasy or agitated state
like cat and dog quarrelling savagely
look like something the cat brought in to appear dishevelled or bedraggled
not a cat in hell's chance no chance at all
not have room to swing a cat to have very little space
play cat and mouse to play with a person or animal in a cruel or teasing way, esp before a final act of cruelty or unkindness
put the cat among the pigeons to introduce some violently disturbing new element
rain cats and dogs to rain very heavily
(tr) to flog with a cat-o'-nine-tails
(tr) nautical to hoist (an anchor) to the cathead
- catlike, adjective
- cattish, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for cat (2 of 5)
informal short for catamaran (def. 1)
British Dictionary definitions for cat (3 of 5)
short for catalytic converter
(as modifier): a cat car
short for catalytic a cat cracker
British Dictionary definitions for CAT (4 of 5)
British Dictionary definitions for cat. (5 of 5)
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with cat
In addition to the idioms beginning with cat
- cat got one's tongue
- alley cat
- bell the cat
- curiosity killed the cat
- fat cat
- grin like a Cheshire cat
- let the cat out of the bag
- like a cat on a hot brick
- look like something the cat dragged in
- look like the cat that ate the canary
- more than one way to skin a cat
- not enough room to swing a cat
- play cat and mouse
- rain cats and dogs
- when the cat's away
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.