The wrawl of cats in rutting times; any hideous noise. Topsel gives catwralling, to "wrall;" "wrawl," to rail or quarrel with a loud voice; hence the Yorkshire expression, "raising a wrow," meaning a row or quarrel. There is also the archaic adjective wraw (angry). Cater-waul, therefore, is the wawl or wrawl of cats; the er being either a plural, similar to " childer" (children), or a corrupted genitive. - Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.

"What a caterwawling do you keep here! "

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act II., Scene 3.

To Yawl

To squall or scream harshly like an enraged cat." - Holloway (Norfolk).

"Thou must be patient; we came crying hither; Thou knowest the first time that we smell air, We waul and cry."

King John, Act IV.


Sly, gray eyes, or with large pupils, watchful.


A rope used in ships for hoisting the anchor to the cat-head.


A species of the squalus, or shark (Felis marinus). The catfish of North America is a species of coitus, or bull-head.


A corruption of "gut-cord." The intestines of a sheep, twisted and dried; not that of a cat, as generally supposed. Also, it is stated by some, the finer strings for viols were made from the cat. Mr. Timbs says the original reading in Shakespeare was "calves'-gut." "A sort of linen or canvas with wide interstices." - Webster.

Cat-Hamed, Or Hammed

Awkward; sometimes applied to a horse with weak hind-legs, and which drops suddenly behind on its haunches, as a cat is said to do.


A Devonshire term for awkward.


" Rope sewing to brace in the shrouds of the lower masts behind their respective yards, to tighten the shrouds and give more room to draw in the yards when the ship is close hauled." - Marine Dictionary.

Cat-Harping Fashion

Drinking crossways, and not as usual, over the left thumb.

Sea Term



"A strong beam, projecting horizontally over the ship's bows, carrying two or three sheaves, above which a rope, called the cat-fall, passes, and communicates with the cat-block." - Marine Dictionary.


The time when a kitten is full grown, it is then a cat and has attained maturity, that is, cathood.


A strong hook fitted to the cat-block.


Weak tea, only fit for the cat to lap, or thin milk and water. In Kent and Sussex it is also often applied to small, very small beer; even thin gruel is called " cat-lap." Weak tea is also called "scandal-broth."


Stealthy, slow, yet appertaining more to appearance.


Down, or moss, growing about walnut-trees, resembling the hair of a cat.

Cat D Nine Tails

So called from being nine pieces of cord put together, in each cord nine knots; and this, when used vigorously, makes several long marks not unlike the clawing or scratching of a cat, producing crossing and re-crossing wounds; a fearful and severe punishment, formerly too often exercised for trivial offences.

Cat Or Dog Wool

"Of which cotte or coarse blankets were formerly made" (Bailey). "Cot gase" (refuse wool). " Cat" no doubt was a corruption of "cot."


A pear, shaped like a hen's egg, that ripens in October.

Cat Pellet

The pop-gun of boys, one pellet of paper driving out the other. Davis in his "Glossary" thinks it means " tip-cat." Probably it may be the sharpened piece of wood, not the game, that is different altogether, he quotes.

"Who beats the boys from cat pellet, and stool ball."

British Bellman, 1648.


A salt obtained from butter.


"A sort of salt beautifully granulated, formed out of the bittern or leach brine, used for making hard soap." - Encyclopedia.


To live under the cat's foot, to be under the dominion of a wife, henpecked.


A plant of the genus Glechoma pes felinus, ground ivy or gill.

Cat's-Head Apple

A large culinary apple, considered by some in form to bear a resemblance to a cat's head. Philips in his poem "Cyder" thus describes it:

"... The cat's head's weighty orb, Enormous in growth, for various use."


An old popular name for mica or talc.


A light doze, a watchful sleep, like that of a hare or of a cat who sits in front of a mouse-hole, a dozy or a sleeping wakefulness.


Any one used by another for getting them out of a difficulty, and for no other reason, is made a cat's-paw of. The simile is from the fable of the monkey using the cat's paw to take his chestnuts out of the fire. A light breeze just ruffling the water in a calm is called a cat's-paw. Also a particular kind of turn in the bight of a rope made to hook tackle on.

Cat's-Tail (Typha Latifolia)

A kind of reed which bears a spike like the tail of a cat, which some call reed mace; its long, flat leaves are much used for the bottoms of chairs.


Mares' tails (equisetum).


"Battle-stone. A monolith in Scotland (sometimes falsely called a Druidical stone). The Norwegian term, banta stein, means the same thing. Celtic - cath (battle)." - Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.


Thin legs; compared to the thin sticks with which boys play at cat (Grose).

Catsup Or Ketchup

A corruption of the Eastern name of "Kitjap." Is then the syllable "cat" a pun on "kit" or "kitten" (a young cat)? Surely not.


Nepeta Cattarla. Mentha felina, the herb cat-mint.


A place where cats are kept, the ordinary name when a person keeps a collection of cats.


Having stealthy ways, slow and cautious in movements, watchful.

Catwater (Plymouth)

"This is a remarkable instance of mistranslation. The castle at the mouth of the Plym used to be called the Chateau; but some one, thinking it would be better to Anglicise the French, divided the word into two parts: chat (cat), eau (water)." - Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.


Rosa spinosissima. Burnet Rose is the name of the plant.

Cat With Two Tails

The earwig. Northumberland; Holloway.

Gil Cat

A male cat; some say an old male. Nares says, an expression exactly analogous to "Jack ass;" the one being formerly called "Gil" or "Gilbert," as commonly as the other "Jack." "Tom cat" is now the usual term, and for a similar reason. "Tibert" is said to be the old French for "Gilbert." From "Tibert," "Tib," "Tibby," also was a common name for a cat. Wilkins, in his "Index to Philosophical Language," has "Gil" (male) cat in the same way as a male cat is called a "Tom" cat. In some counties the cock fowl is called a "Tom." It is unknown whence the origin of the latter term.


Poetical name for a cat (Bailey). "Mawkin" signifies a hare in Scotland (Grose). In Sussex a hare is often called "puss" or "pussy." "Puss" is also a common name for a cat.

Grinagog, The Cafs Uncle

A foolish, grinning fellow. One who grins without reason (Grose). In Norfolk, if one say " she," the reply is, " Who's ■ she'? The cat's aunt? "

Hang Me In A Bottle Like A Cat

" Benedict. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me, and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder and called Adam " (meaning Adam Bell, the famous archer). - Much Ado About Nothing, Act I.

A note in the "Percy Reliques," vol. i., 1812, states: "Bottles were formerly of leather, though perhaps a wooden bottle might be here meant. It is still a diversion in Scotland (1812) to hang up a cat in a small cask or firkin, half filled with soot, and then a parcel of clowns on horseback try to beat out the ends of it, in order to show their dexterity in escaping before the contents fall on them."

From "Demandes Joyeuses" (amusing questions), 1511:

"Q. What is that that never was and never will be? "A. A mouse nest in a cat's ear.

"Q. Why does a cat cross the road?

"A. Because it wants to get to the other side."

Mrs. Evans

" A local name for a she-cat, owing, it is said, to a witch of the name of Evans, who assumed the appearance of a cat." - Grose.

Nine Lives Like A Cat

" Cats, from their great suppleness and aptitude to fall on their feet, are commonly said to have nine lives; hence Ben Jonson, in 'Every Man in His Humour,' says:' 'Tis a pity you had not ten lives - a cat's and your own.'" - Thiselton Dyer's English Folk-lore.

"Tyb. What wouldst thou have with me? Mer. Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives." Romeo and Juliet, III. 1.

Middleton says in "Blurt Master Constable," 1602: "They have nine lives apiece, like a woman."

Pussy Cats

Male blossom of the willow.

Salt-Cat, Or Salt-Cate

A mixture of salt, gravel, clay, old mortar, cumin seed, ginger, and other ingredients, in a pan, which is placed in pigeon lofts.

Sick As A Cat

Cats are subject to sickness or vomiting for the purpose of throwing up indigestible matter, such as the fur of mice, feathers of birds, which would otherwise collect and form balls internally. For this reason they eat grass, which produces the desired effect; hence arises the phrase "as sick as a cat."


"An old maid; either from Tabitha, a formal antiquated name, or else from a tabby cat; old maids, by the rude, weak-minded, and vulgar, being often compared to cats. ' To drive tab,' to go out on a party of pleasure with wife and family." - Grose's Glossary.

"The neighbour's old cat often Came to pay us a visit; We made her a bow and courtesy, Each with a compliment in it.

After her health we asked,

Our care and regard to evince;

(We have made the very same speeches To many an old cat since)."

Mrs. B. Browning (translation of "Heine").


A pleasant game for those engaged in it; not so, too often, for others, medical reports of late tending to show that many cases of the loss of sight have occurred.