Cat's-paw Definition

A person used by another to do dangerous, distasteful, or unlawful work; dupe.
Webster's New World
A light breeze that ripples the surface of water.
Webster's New World
A hitch in the bight of a rope, used to form two loops through which a hook can be passed.
Webster's New World

A knot of a certain kind resembling a lark’s-foot hitch; see cat's paw for more detailed information.


A small crowbar.


Origin of Cat's-paw

  • 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.

    From Wiktionary

  • From a fable about a monkey that used a cat's paw to pull chestnuts out of a fire

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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