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pussyfoot

[poos-ee-foot]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to go or move in a stealthy or cautious manner.
  2. to act cautiously or timidly, as if afraid to commit oneself on a point at issue.
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noun, plural puss·y·foots.
  1. a person with a catlike, or soft and stealthy, tread.
  2. Chiefly British. a teetotaler or prohibitionist.
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Origin of pussyfoot

An Americanism dating back to 1890–95; pussy1 + foot

Synonyms for pussyfoot

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pussyfoot

dodge, skulk, tergiversate, shuffle, glide, steal, avoid, sidestep, lurk, prowl, evade, sneak, slink, slide, slip, equivocate, hedge, tiptoe, skirt, prevaricate

Examples from the Web for pussyfoot

Historical Examples of pussyfoot

  • Converting a pussyfoot into liquid measure with caustic soda water.

    The Nurserymatograph

    A Lawyer

  • Call him a Pussyfoot as well; you cannot shake him from his pinnacle.

  • Your king of Kusiak has to learn some time that everybody isn't going to sidestep him and pussyfoot when he's around.

    The Yukon Trail

    William MacLeod Raine

  • It was to have one church, to be used by the various denominations, and to be what is now called “Pussyfoot.”

    Fifty-One Years of Victorian Life

    Margaret Elizabeth Leigh Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey

  • Are Mr. Volstead or Mr. Pussyfoot Johnson satisfied with the present condition of things in their country?


British Dictionary definitions for pussyfoot

pussyfoot

verb (intr)
  1. to move about stealthily or warily like a cat
  2. to avoid committing oneself
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noun plural -foots
  1. a person who pussyfoots
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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 pussyfoot

v.

also pussy-foot, 1903, "tread softly," from pussy (n.1) + foot (n.). As a noun from 1911, "a detective," American English, from the nickname of U.S. government Indian Affairs agent W.E. Johnson (1862-1945), in charge of suppressing liquor traffic on Indian reservations in Oklahoma, who was noted for his stealthy tactics. Related: Pussyfooting; pussy-footed (1893).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper