- a person used by another to do dangerous, distasteful, or unlawful work; dupe: from the tale of the monkey who used the cat's foot to rake the chestnuts out of the fire
- a light breeze that ripples the surface of water
- Naut. a hitch in the bight of a rope, used to form two loops through which a hook can be passed
nounpl. cat's-paws also cats·paws
- A person used by another as a dupe or tool.
- A light breeze that ruffles small areas of a water surface.
- Nautical A knot made by twisting a section of rope to form two adjacent eyes through which a hook is passed, used in hoisting.
Origin of cat's-pawFrom a fable about a monkey that used a cat's paw to pull chestnuts out of a fire.
(plural cat's-paws or cats'-paws)
Meaning 1: From a fable, perhaps of Aesop's, in which a crafty monkey uses flattery to convince a cat to pull hot chestnuts from a fire. The cat singes his paw, and the monkey gobbles up the chestnuts leaving none for the cat. Meaning 2: Probably due to resemblance in terms of shape.
(plural cat's paws)
- Alternative form of cat's-paw.