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Word of the Day
Monday, August 11, 2014

Definitions for cat's-paw

  1. a person used to serve the purposes of another; tool.
  2. Nautical. a. a hitch made in the bight of a rope so that two eyes are formed to hold the hook of one block of a tackle. b. a light breeze that ruffles the surface of the water over a comparatively small area. c. the small area ruffled by such a breeze.

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Citations for cat's-paw
Intrigue followed her wherever she went, because more powerful personalities wanted her for a cat's-paw. Once queen she might have proven a difficult cat's-paw, however. Jonathan Schneer, The Thames, 2005
I found out later what he'd done -- used me for a cat's-paw to keep this company I'd bought from selling out to someone else and spoiling another deal he had on the fire. Cameron Hawley, "Fast Millions from East Deals" (excerpt from Cash McCall), Life, Vol. 39, No.1, 1955
Origin of cat's-paw
Cat's-paw finds its origin in a fable called "The Monkey and the Cat" in which a monkey uses a cat's paw to draw chestnuts out of a fire. The term entered English in the mid-1600s.