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cat's-paw

or cats·paw

[kats-paw]
See more synonyms for cat's-paw on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a person used to serve the purposes of another; tool.
  2. Nautical.
    1. a hitch made in the bight of a rope so that two eyes are formed to hold the hook of one block of a tackle.
    2. a light breeze that ruffles the surface of the water over a comparatively small area.
    3. the small area ruffled by such a breeze.
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Origin of cat's-paw

First recorded in 1650–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for catspaw

stooge, sucker, tool, dupe, instrument, chump, sap, catspaw

Examples from the Web for catspaw

Historical Examples of catspaw

  • Maman and Caughnega have been making a catspaw of you to do their dirty work.

    Rodney, the Ranger

    John V. Lane

  • What astonished me most, however, was the facility with which the Baron made a catspaw of him.

    Dross

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • She was commiserated as a catspaw, and sneered at as a dupe.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

  • Was this little alien waif to be made a catspaw for her revenge?

    Flamsted quarries

    Mary E. Waller

  • Catspaw: To apply the purchase or tackle to the fall of another.

    The Gunner's Examiner

    Harold E. Cloke


British Dictionary definitions for catspaw

cat's-paw

noun
  1. a person used by another as a tool; dupe
  2. nautical a hitch in the form of two loops, or eyes, in the bight of a line, used for attaching it to a hook
  3. a pattern of ripples on the surface of water caused by a light wind
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Word Origin for cat's-paw

(sense 1) C18: so called from the tale of the monkey who used a cat's paw to draw chestnuts out of a fire
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