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The Cat’s Meow: A Purrfectly Quirky Idiom

If you’ve ever heard someone described as “the cat’s meow”, you might have scratched your head in confusion. Cats are adorable and sometimes sassy, but are they synonymous with being the absolute best? Let’s dive into this peculiar expression and find out!

Meaning: Top of the Line

When something is “the cat’s meow”, it signifies that it’s outstanding, excellent, or the cream of the crop. It’s a way to express high praise and admiration.

Origins: The Roaring Twenties

This idiom has its roots in the vibrant 1920s, an era buzzing with jazz, flappers, and colorful slang. Back then, the term “cat” was associated with being hip, trendy, and fashionable. So, “the cat’s meow” essentially meant the pinnacle of coolness.

When to Use It

“The cat’s meow” adds a touch of whimsy and old-timey charm to your speech. Here’s when it’s appropriate:

  • Informal settings: Best used in casual conversations with friends and family.
  • Expressing enthusiasm: Talking about something you really enjoy: “That new bakery in town? Their croissants are the cat’s meow!”
  • Lighthearted compliments: “You look fantastic in that outfit – the cat’s meow!”

When to Avoid It

There are times when “the cat’s meow” might not land the right way:

  • Formal situations: It’s a bit too playful for business meetings or academic writing.
  • Sensitive topics: If you’re discussing something serious, it might trivialize the conversation.
  • Unsure audience: If you’re around people who may not be familiar with the idiom, it’s better to use more straightforward language.

The Cat’s Got Your Tongue?

Now you’re in the know about “the cat’s meow”! Next time you want to express your love for something or give a playful compliment, feel free to let this feline phrase out of the bag.


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<a href="https://englishpluspodcast.com/author/dannyballanowner/" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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