• synonyms


[gri-mal-kin, -mawl-]
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  1. a cat.
  2. an old female cat.
  3. an ill-tempered old woman.
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Origin of grimalkin

1595–1605; apparently alteration of gray1 + malkin, diminutive of Maud proper name; see -kin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for grimalkin

Historical Examples

  • And Mrs. Grimalkin, the old cat, said that there were faults on both sides.

    Little Folks (July 1884)


  • He too pitched on the top of the fence directly in front of Grimalkin.

  • So narrow was it, however, that even Grimalkin could not venture to move fast.

  • Grimalkin decides to kill a canary in a neighbouring verandah.

    Three Elephant Power

    Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson

  • Then he told the Farmer about the bargain he had made with Grimalkin.

British Dictionary definitions for grimalkin


  1. an old cat, esp an old female cat
  2. a crotchety or shrewish old woman
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Word Origin

C17: from grey + malkin
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

Word Origin and History for grimalkin


1620s, name given to a cat (cf. Shakespeare's Gray-Malkin, in "Macbeth," 1605), hence any cat, especially an old she-cat; from gray + Malkin, diminutive of fem. proper name Matilda or Maud.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper