Idioms With “Cat” and Meanings

List of idioms with the word “Cat” and the meanings. Idioms about “Cat” and expressions.

a rich but usually lazy person
1. Now that Mr. Anderson is rich, he rides around town in a fancy car like a fat cat and has everyone else do the work.
2. Richard is such a fat cat businessman. He owns several supermarkets.
The expression is primarily used to describe a man (usually not a woman) who, although rich, is not seen as industrious.
He has perhaps become wealthy through hard work but is nowrelaxing, or he has never had to work for his wealth.
to reveal a secret
1. When Rachel decided she was going to quit her job, she told her best friend but she didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag. Rachel told her friend not to tell anyone.
2. The children put their money together to buy their mother a birthday present, but the youngest child became excited and couldn’t keep from telling his mother what they had bought. His brothers and sisters told him he shouldn’t have let the cat out of the bag.
Synonym: spill the beans
Antonym: keep (something) under (one’s) hat
Centuries ago, merchants would sell piglets in bags. If a dishonest merchant placed a cat in the bag instead of the more costly and valuable piglet, the buyer might not know until they opened the bag and let the cat out.
to have a knowing and self-satisfied smile on one’s face; to be pleased with oneself, often because one has done something which one knows was wrong but which was very enjoyable
1. The clever businessman had just completed a very profitable deal for a very good price, and he was very pleased with himself. He looked like the cat that swallowed the canary.
2. When the teacher came into the classroom, the students sat there looking like cats that swallowed the canaries. The teacher knew the students must be planning something mischievous.
Canaries are songbirds that people keep as pets in cages. A cat that had swallowed a canary would be pleased with itself but also know that it would be in trouble when the master of the house came home and discovered what had happened.
there are different ways to accomplish the same thing; there are different possible solutions to a problem
1. There must be some way to raise enough money to buy a car. We’ve put all our savings together but it isn’t enough. Still, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I’ll get a second job!
2. My friends asked me how they could accomplish something that seemed impossible. I told them that they simply hadn’t looked at all the possibilities. I told them there’s always more than one way to skin a cat and that they would eventually find a solution.
to rain very heavily
1. The children should take their raincoats, umbrellas, and boots—it’s raining cats and dogs.
2. I’ve never seen such rain! Look how fast it’s coming down. It’s raining cats and dogs.
a very wide smile
Usage notes: The Cheshire cat is a character in Lewis Carroll’s book Alice in Wonderland and is famous for its big smile.
someone who is frightened when there is no reason to be
Usage notes: This phrase is used especially by children.
to be nervous and unable to keep still What’s the matter with her? She’s like a cat on a hot tin roof this morning.
to be better than everyone else I thought I was the cat’s whiskers in my new dress.
why are you not speaking

After she finished the story, I kept silent. What’s the matter, cat got your tongue? she asked.

Rur. [for something to be]wrong. I’m afraid there’s a dead cat on the line over at Martha’s place. I haven’t heard from them for days.
Fig. a coward; a person who is frightened of everything. (Used in children’s taunts.)
to have no chance at all of achieving something (usually + of + doing sth)
Rur. very angry.
to try to defeat someone by tricking them into making a mistake so that you have an advantage over them (often + with )
1. Fig. [for an engine]to run well and smoothly. My car really purred after I got it tuned up. New sparkplugs and this old heap will really purr like a cat.
2. Fig. [for a person]to be very pleased, and perhaps moan or purr with pleasure. She was so pleased that she purred like a cat. Sarah really purrs like a kitten when she is happy.
to do or say something that causes trouble and makes a lot of people angry or worried
to delay making a decision or doing something until you know what is going to happen or what other people are going to do
Sl. to empty one’s stomach; to vomit.
Sl. to empty one’s stomach; to vomit.
to be a person who copies or mimics what someone else does. (Usually juvenile.)
Sally wore a pink dress just like Mary’s. Mary called Sally a copy-cat.
Bill is such a copy-cat. He bought a coat just like mine.


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