Idioms for cat

    bell the cat, to attempt something formidable or dangerous.
    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.

Origin of cat

before 900; Middle English cat, catte, Old English catt (masculine), catte (feminine); cognate with Old Frisian, Middle Dutch katte, Old High German kazza, Old Norse kǫttr, Irish cat, Welsh cath (Slavic *kotŭ, Lithuanian katė̃ perhaps < Gmc), Late Latin cattus, catta (first attested in the 4th century, presumably with the introduction of domestic cats); ultimately origin obscure
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for let the cat out of the bag (1 of 4)

CAT

abbreviation for

computer-aided teaching
computer-assisted trading

British Dictionary definitions for let the cat out of the bag (2 of 4)

cat1
/ (kæt) /

noun

verb cats, catting or catted

Derived forms of cat

catlike, adjectivecattish, adjective

Word Origin for cat

Old English catte, from Latin cattus; related to Old Norse köttr, Old High German kazza, Old French chat, Russian kot

British Dictionary definitions for let the cat out of the bag (3 of 4)

cat2
/ (kæt) /

noun

informal short for catamaran (def. 1)

British Dictionary definitions for let the cat out of the bag (4 of 4)

cat3
/ (kæt) /

noun

  1. short for catalytic converter
  2. (as modifier)a cat car

adjective

short for catalytic a cat cracker
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

Medicine definitions for let the cat out of the bag

CAT

abbr.

computerized axial tomography
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for let the cat out of the bag

let the cat out of the bag

To disclose a secret: “The mayor's visit was to be kept strictly confidential, but someone must have let the cat out of the bag, because the airport was swarming with reporters.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with let the cat out of the bag (1 of 2)

let the cat out of the bag

Give away a secret, as in Mom let the cat out of the bag and told us Karen was engaged. This expression alludes to the dishonest practice of a merchant substituting a worthless cat for a valuable pig, which is discovered only when the buyer gets home and opens the bag. [Mid-1700s] Also see pig in a poke.

Idioms and Phrases with let the cat out of the bag (2 of 2)

cat

In addition to the idioms beginning with cat

  • cat got one's tongue

also see:

  • 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.