like something the cat brought in

like something the cat brought in

(of a person) very dirty, bedraggled or exhausted – informal

1996 - Frank McCourt - Angela's Ashes - One of them says we look like something the cat brought in and Malachy has to be held back from fighting them.

Related Idioms :

like a cat on a hot tin roof = like a cat on hot bricks

very agitated, restless or anxious

like the cat that has got the cream = like the cat who has stolen the cream


having achieved your objective, informal - chiefly British

like a scalded cat

at a very fast speed

1997 - If you're in a desperate hurry you can bury the accelerator and take off like a scalded cat.

not room to swing a cat = no room to swing a cat

used in reference to a very confined space – humorous

The cat in this expression is probably a cat-o-nine-tails - a form of whip with nine knotted cords. In former times these whips were used to flog wrongdoers, especially at sea.

not a cat in hell's chance

no chance at all – Informal

This expression is often shortened to nota cat's chance.

2001 - James Hamilton-Paterson - Loving Monsters There isn't, of course, a cat in hell's chance that I shall ever see 1999 as you, I and Dr Faruli know perfectly well.

play cat and mouse with

maneuver in a way designed alternately to provoke and thwart an opponent.

The image here is of the way that a cat toys with a mouse, pretending to release it and then pouncing on it again.

put the cat among the pigeons

say or do something that is likely to cause trouble or controversy – British

This expression was first recorded in Stevens's Wew Spanish and English Dictionary (1706) where it is explained as referring to a man coming into the company of a group of women. The idiom flutter the dovecotes is based on the same idea of a group of pigeons as a tranquil or harmless community.

1998 - New Scientist - The study has firmly put the cat among the pigeons by claiming that most of the therapeutic effects of expensive antidepressant pills can be mimicked by dummy pills.

see which way the cat jumps

see what direction events are taking before committing yourself.

1990 - Dennis Kavanagh - Thatcherism – She borrowed Kipling's words : I don't spend a lifetime watching which way the cat jumps. I know really which way I want the cat to go.

that cat won't jump

that suggestion is implausible or impracticable – informal

1965 - Simon Troy - No More a-Roving - If you're telling me she fell in, just like that - oh no! That cat won't jump.

turn cat in pan

change sides

be a traitor

The origin of this phrase is unknown. lt was used in the 16th century in the form turn the cat in the pan with the sense of reverse the proper order or nature of things. But this was replaced by the modern sense in the early 17th century.

when the cat is away, the mice will play

People will naturally take advantage of the absence of someone in authority to do as they like. - proverb

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like something the cat brought in