In a state of sexual excitement immediately preceding ovulation. For example, Our cat's in heat so we have to keep her inside. This expression applies to most female mammals and indicates the period when the animal is fertile and most receptive to mating. [Mid-1700s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.