- a person, especially a man.
- a devotee of jazz.
verb (used with object), cat·ted, cat·ting.
verb (used without object), cat·ted, cat·ting.
- to spend one's time aimlessly or idly.
- to seek sexual activity indiscriminately; tomcat.
Origin of cat
Definition for cat (2 of 5)
Definition for cat (3 of 5)
Definition for cat (4 of 5)
Origin of cata-
Definition for cat (5 of 5)
Examples from the Web for cat
We did a movie down in Durango — Great Scout and Cat House Thursday.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile|Robert Ward|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
We coo over how cute our cat is and minimize the drudgery of cleaning the litter box.
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.
The sort of thing where someone write “I love my cat more than my kids” or something like that.Meghan Daum On Tackling The Unspeakable Parts Of Life|David Yaffe|December 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Last year, her group successfully helped push through a measure that made the sale of cat fur illegal in the country.Will the Swiss Quit Cooking their Kittens and Puppies?|Barbie Latza Nadeau|November 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
While looking out of that top-floor window one day I noticed a cat on a window-ledge of the house across the street.Outwitting the Hun|Pat O'Brien
If a man treats you badly in any way, you threaten to pay him back in his own coin by saying, 'The cat hasn't eaten the year yet.'English As We Speak It in Ireland|P. W. Joyce
When the sheep saw the cat dancing they began to dance, too.Tales of Giants from Brazil|Elsie Spicer Eells
In their Navy, on the other hand, they often get the cat itself.
The street was quite deserted; not even a cat or a policeman moved on it and Van Bibber's footsteps sounded brisk on the sidewalk.Gallegher and Other Stories|Richard Harding Davis
British Dictionary definitions for cat (1 of 6)
verb cats, catting or catted
Word Origin for cat
British Dictionary definitions for cat (2 of 6)
British Dictionary definitions for cat (3 of 6)
- short for catalytic converter
- (as modifier)a cat car
British Dictionary definitions for cat (4 of 6)
British Dictionary definitions for cat (5 of 6)
British Dictionary definitions for cat (6 of 6)
kata-, before an aspirate cath- or before a vowel cat-
Word Origin for cata-
Word Origin and History for cat (1 of 3)
Old English catt (c.700), from West Germanic (c.400-450), from Proto-Germanic *kattuz (cf. Old Frisian katte, Old Norse köttr, Dutch kat, Old High German kazza, German Katze), from Late Latin cattus.
The near-universal European word now, it appeared in Europe as Latin catta (Martial, c.75 C.E.), Byzantine Greek katta (c.350) and was in general use on the continent by c.700, replacing Latin feles. Probably ultimately Afro-Asiatic (cf. Nubian kadis, Berber kadiska, both meaning "cat"). Arabic qitt "tomcat" may be from the same source. Cats were domestic in Egypt from c.2000 B.C.E., but not a familiar household animal to classical Greeks and Romans. The nine lives have been proverbial since at least 1560s.
The Late Latin word also is the source of Old Irish and Gaelic cat, Welsh kath, Breton kaz, Italian gatto, Spanish gato, French chat (12c.). Independent, but ultimately from the same source are words in the Slavic group: Old Church Slavonic kotuka, kotel'a, Bulgarian kotka, Russian koška, Polish kot, along with Lithuanian kate and non-Indo-European Finnish katti, which is from Lithuanian.
Extended to lions, tigers, etc. c.1600. As a term of contempt for a woman, from early 13c. Slang sense of "prostitute" is from at least c.1400. Slang sense of "fellow, guy," is from 1920, originally in U.S. Black English; narrower sense of "jazz enthusiast" is recorded from 1931.
Cat's paw (1769, but cat's foot in the same sense, 1590s) refers to old folk tale in which the monkey tricks the cat into pawing chestnuts from a fire; the monkey gets the nuts, the cat gets a burnt paw. Cat bath "hurried or partial cleaning" is from 1953. Cat burglar is from 1907, so called for stealth. Cat-witted "small-minded, obstinate, and spiteful" (1670s) deserved to survive. For Cat's meow, cat's pajamas, see bee's knees.
Word Origin and History for cat (1 of 3)
1975, medical acronym for computerized axial tomography or something like it. Related: CAT scan.
Word Origin and History for cat (2 of 3)
word-forming element from Latinized form of Greek kata-, before vowels kat-, from kata "down from, down to." Its principal sense is "down," but occasionally it has senses of "against" (catapult)or "wrongly" (catachresis). Also sometimes used as an intensive or with a sense of completion of action (catalogue). Very active in ancient Greek, this prefix is found in English mostly in words borrowed through Latin after c.1500.
Medicine definitions for cat (1 of 2)
Medicine definitions for cat (2 of 2)
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