- to feel frisky or lively.
- to be aware of and use one's importance or power.
Origin of oat
Examples from the Web for oat
By comparison with it, the oat stocks shone pale and silvery.Prescott of Saskatchewan|Harold Bindloss
The form Avenae will grow on oat and many grasses but not on the other three cereals mentioned.
She can untie her halter, take down a bar, open the oat bin, and help herself.
In September they pass into the oat fields, and in October they are caught in the nets with the common larks.The Natural History of Cage Birds|J. M. Bechstein
A bean bag, sand, or oat bag will do just as well, tied to the end of a rope.Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium|Jessie H. Bancroft
British Dictionary definitions for oat
- to feel exuberant
- to feel self-important
Word Origin for oat
Word Origin and History for oat
Old English ate (plural atan) "grain of the oat plant, wild oats," of uncertain origin, possibly from Old Norse eitill "nodule," denoting a single grain, of unknown origin. The English word has cognates in Frisian and some Dutch dialects. Famously defined by Johnson as, "A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people."
The usual Germanic name is derived from Proto-Germanic *khabran (cf. Old Norse hafri, Dutch haver, source of haversack). Wild oats, "crop that one will regret sowing," is first attested 1560s, in reference to the folly of sowing these instead of good grain.
That wilfull and vnruly age, which lacketh rypenes and discretion, and (as wee saye) hath not sowed all theyr wyeld Oates. [Thomas Newton, "Lemnie's Touchstone of complexions," 1576]
Fred Sanford: I still want to sow some wild oats!
Lamont Sanford: At your age, you don't have no wild oats, you got shredded wheat.
["Sanford and Son"]
Hence, to feel (one's) oats "be lively," 1831, originally American English.