pussyfoot

[poos-ee-foot]

verb (used without object)

to go or move in a stealthy or cautious manner.
to act cautiously or timidly, as if afraid to commit oneself on a point at issue.

noun, plural puss·y·foots.

a person with a catlike, or soft and stealthy, tread.
Chiefly British. a teetotaler or prohibitionist.

Origin of pussyfoot

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

Synonyms for pussyfoot

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for pussyfoot

Historical Examples of pussyfoot


British Dictionary definitions for pussyfoot

pussyfoot

verb (intr)

to move about stealthily or warily like a cat
to avoid committing oneself

noun plural -foots

a person who pussyfoots
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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper