Irish, Cat; French, Chat; Dutch, Kat; Danish, Kat; Swedish, Katt; German, Katii or Katze; Latin, Catus; Italian, Gatto; Portuguese and Spanish, Goto; Polish, Kot; Russian, Kots; Turkish, Keti; Welsh, Cath; Cornish, Kath; Basque, Catua; Armenian, Gaz or Katz. In Armenic, Kitta, or Kaita, is a male cat.
This I first thought simply meant a male cat; but I find in Nares, "Abram" is the corruption of "auburn," so, no doubt, a red or sandy tabby cat is intended.
"Queen" was used by the Saxons to signify the female sex, in that "queen fugol" was used for "hen fowl." Farmers in Kent and Sussex used also to call heifers "little queens."
A boar or he-cat, from the old Saxon carle or karle, a male, and cat.
It was used to denote "Liberty." No animal is more impatient of restriction or confinement, nor yet seeming to bear it with more resignation. The Romans made their goddess of Liberty holding a cup in one hand . and a broken sceptre in the other, with a cat lying at her feet. Among the goddesses, Diana is said to have assumed the form of a cat. The Egyptians worshipped the cat as an emblem of the moon, not only because it was more active after sunset, but from the dilation and contraction of its orb, symbolical of the waxing and waning of the night goddess. But Bailey, in his dictionary, says cats see best as the sun approaches, and that their eyesight decays as it goes down in the evening. Yet," on this account," says Mr. Thiselton Dyer, in his "English Folk-lore," " it was so highly esteemed as to receive sacrifices, and even to have stately temples erected to its honour. Whenever a cat died, Brand tells us, all the family shaved their eyebrows; and Diodorus Siculus relates that a Roman happening accidentally to kill a cat, the mob immediately gathered round the house where he was, and neither the entreaties of some principal men by the king, nor the fear of the Romans, with whom the Egyptians were then negotiating a peace, could save the man's life.
In so much esteem also was it held, that on the death of its owner the favourite cat, or even kitten, was sacrificed, embalmed, and placed in the same sarcophagus." Some few years ago, Mr. E. Long, R.A., exhibited at the Royal Academy a very fine picture of Egyptians idol-making, idol worshippers and sellers; the lines from Juvenal being descriptive:
"All know what monsters Egypt venerates; It worships crocodiles, or it adores The snake-gorged ibis; and sacred ape Graven in gold is seen. . . . Whole cities pray To cats and fishes, or the dog invoke."
A metal tripod for holding a plate or Dutch oven before the fire. So called because, in whatever position it is placed, it is supported by the spokes; as it is said a cat will always light on its feet, so the plate-holder will stand firmly in any position. These old brass appliances have now gone out of use and are seldom seen, the new mode of "handing round" not requiring them. Another reason, doubtless, is the lowness of the fire compared with the stove of former years, which was high up in the bygone "parlour grate."
A cross old woman was called "a cat"; or to a shrewish, the epithet was applied tauntingly.
"But will you woo this wild cat?"
Taming the Shrew, Act I., Scene 2.
A ship formed on the Norwegian model, having a narrow stern, projecting quarters, and a deep waist. It is strongly built, from four to six hundred tons' burden, and employed in the coal trade.
A strong tackle, or combination of pulleys, to hook and draw in the anchor perpendicularly up to the cat-head of the ship.
A small kind of anchor is sometimes called a cat or ketch; by the Dutch, "Kat"
"At the edge of the moat, opposite the wooden tower, a strong penthouse, which they called a 'cat,' might be seen stealing towards the curtain, and gradually filling up the moat with facines and rubbish." - Read Cloister and Hearth, chap, xliii. (Davis' "Glossary.")
A cat-killer (Bailey, 1726).
Cat of the mountain, the ordinary wild cat, when found on the mountains, among the rocks or woods.
A game or play (Ainsworth). This is probably that known as "trap, bat, and ball," as on striking the trap, after the ball is placed on the lever, it is propelled upwards, and then struck by the batsman.
A military engine for battering or attacking purposes. A modern toy, by which much mischief and evil is done by unthinking boys.
An American bird, whose cry resembles that of a cat, the Turdus felivox.
A two or threefold block with an iron strap and large hook, used to draw up an anchor to the cat-head.
"A tin whistle. The ancients divided their dramas into four parts: pro'tasis (introduction), epit'asis (continuation), calas'tasis (climax), and catastrophe (conclusion or denouement). The cat-call is the call for the cat or catastrophe." - Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
"Sound, sound, ye viols; be the cat-call dumb."
Dunciade, I. 303.
The] modern imitation of "cat - calls" is caused by whistling with two fingers in the mouth, and so making an intensely shrill noise, with waulings imitating "catterwaulings." Also a shrill tin whistle, round and flat, set against the teeth.
In London; properly "Catte Street" (Stow).
"Catyrpelwyrm among fruit" is corrupted from old French Chatte peleuse (Palsgrave, 1530). "Hairy cat;" the last part of the word was probably assimilated to piller, a robber or despoiler (Palmer's Folk Etymology).