The Cat’s Meow and Other Cat Expressions

The Cat’s Meow and Other Cat Expressions

Cats! Whether you love them or hate them (and really, why would you hate them?), you can’t deny their linguistic influence! The English language is full of different words and expressions that use the word “cat” without referring to cuddly, four-pawed purr-monsters:


1- Cool Cat: This expression originated in Chicago and describes an exquisitely fashionable or stylish person, specifically a jazz-enthusiast. Example: Lily can dance like no one else! She’s such a cool cat!

2- Cat and mouse: A series of cunning maneuvers designed to trick an opponent. Example: The criminal is playing cat and mouse with the detectives.

3- The cat’s whiskers, the cat’s meow, and the cat’s pajamas: If you are described as such, you’re a most excellent person! These expressions can also be used to describe objects. Example: My new motorcycle is the cat’s meow! I want to take you for a ride because you’re the cat’s pajamas!

4- Like herding cats: This is used to refer to a difficult or impossible task — usually an effort to organize a group of people. Example: Trying to get the members of the university administration to agree on a budget is like herding cats!

5- While the cat’s away, the mice will play: This means that people tend to take advantage of the absence of someone in authority. Example: Her parents have gone away for the weekend, so she’s throwing a party. While the cat’s away…

Cats make their way into everything – cupboards, boxes, closets, and the English language!  We left two expressions out of this list for you to guess! What do you think they are? Comment below!
Learn all kinds of interesting expressions with LRDG! Join us every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for our “Coffee Break” conversation class. Practice speaking English or French with an experienced language teacher. Call us at 514-989-1669 to reserve your spot! You can also check out our many programs from the comfort of your home or office.