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cat

[kat] /kæt/
noun
1.
a small domesticated carnivore, Felis domestica or F. catus, bred in a number of varieties.
2.
any of several carnivores of the family Felidae, as the lion, tiger, leopard or jaguar, etc.
3.
Slang.
  1. a person, especially a man.
  2. a devotee of jazz.
4.
a woman given to spiteful or malicious gossip.
5.
the fur of the domestic cat.
6.
a cat-o'-nine-tails.
7.
Games.
  1. Chiefly British. the tapering piece of wood used in the game of tipcat.
  2. Chiefly British. the game itself.
  3. four old cat, one old cat, three old cat, two old cat.
8.
a catboat.
9.
a catamaran.
10.
a catfish.
11.
Nautical. a tackle used in hoisting an anchor to the cathead.
12.
a double tripod having six legs but resting on only three no matter how it is set down, usually used before or over a fire.
13.
Navy Informal. catapult (def 2).
14.
(in medieval warfare) a movable shelter for providing protection when approaching a fortification.
verb (used with object), catted, catting.
15.
to flog with a cat-o'-nine-tails.
16.
Nautical. to hoist (an anchor) and secure to a cathead.
verb (used without object), catted, catting.
17.
British Slang. to vomit.
Verb phrases
18.
cat around, Slang.
  1. to spend one's time aimlessly or idly.
  2. to seek sexual activity indiscriminately; tomcat.
Idioms
19.
bell the cat, to attempt something formidable or dangerous.
20.
let the cat out of the bag, to divulge a secret, especially inadvertently or carelessly:
He let the cat out of the bag, and the surprise party wasn't a surprise after all.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English cat, catte, Old English catt (masculine), catte (feminine); cognate with Old Frisian, Middle Dutch katte, Old High German kazza, Old Norse kǫttr, Irish cat, Welsh cath (Slavic *kotŭ, Lithuanian katė̃ perhaps < Gmc), Late Latin cattus, catta (first attested in the 4th century, presumably with the introduction of domestic cats); ultimately origin obscure
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for bell cat

cat1

/kæt/
noun
1.
Also called domestic cat. a small domesticated feline mammal, Felis catus (or domesticus), having thick soft fur and occurring in many breeds in which the colour of the fur varies greatly: kept as a pet or to catch rats and mice
2.
Also called big cat. any of the larger felines, such as a lion or tiger
3.
any wild feline mammal of the genus Felis, such as the lynx or serval, resembling the domestic cat related adjective feline
4.
(old-fashioned) a woman who gossips maliciously
5.
(slang) a man; guy
6.
(nautical) a heavy tackle for hoisting an anchor to the cathead
7.
a short sharp-ended piece of wood used in the game of tipcat
8.
short for catboat
9.
(informal) short for Caterpillar
10.
short for cat-o'-nine-tails
11.
(Irish, informal) a bag of cats, a bad-tempered person: she's a real bag of cats this morning
12.
fight like Kilkenny cats, to fight until both parties are destroyed
13.
let the cat out of the bag, to disclose a secret, often by mistake
14.
like a cat on a hot tin roof, like a cat on hot bricks, in an uneasy or agitated state
15.
like cat and dog, quarrelling savagely
16.
look like something the cat brought in, to appear dishevelled or bedraggled
17.
not a cat in hell's chance, no chance at all
18.
not have room to swing a cat, to have very little space
19.
play cat and mouse, to play with a person or animal in a cruel or teasing way, esp before a final act of cruelty or unkindness
20.
put the cat among the pigeons, to introduce some violently disturbing new element
21.
rain cats and dogs, to rain very heavily
verb cats, catting, catted
22.
(transitive) to flog with a cat-o'-nine-tails
23.
(transitive) (nautical) to hoist (an anchor) to the cathead
24.
(intransitive) a slang word for vomit
Derived Forms
catlike, adjective
cattish, adjective
Word Origin
Old English catte, from Latin cattus; related to Old Norse köttr, Old High German kazza, Old French chat, Russian kot

cat2

/kæt/
noun
1.
(informal) short for catamaran (sense 1)

cat3

/kæt/
noun
1.
  1. short for catalytic converter
  2. (as modifier): a cat car
adjective
2.
short for catalytic a cat cracker

CAT

abbreviation
1.
computer-aided teaching
2.
computer-assisted trading
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bell cat

cat

n.

Old English catt (c.700), from West Germanic (c.400-450), from Proto-Germanic *kattuz (cf. Old Frisian katte, Old Norse köttr, Dutch kat, Old High German kazza, German Katze), from Late Latin cattus.

The near-universal European word now, it appeared in Europe as Latin catta (Martial, c.75 C.E.), Byzantine Greek katta (c.350) and was in general use on the continent by c.700, replacing Latin feles. Probably ultimately Afro-Asiatic (cf. Nubian kadis, Berber kadiska, both meaning "cat"). Arabic qitt "tomcat" may be from the same source. Cats were domestic in Egypt from c.2000 B.C.E., but not a familiar household animal to classical Greeks and Romans. The nine lives have been proverbial since at least 1560s.

The Late Latin word also is the source of Old Irish and Gaelic cat, Welsh kath, Breton kaz, Italian gatto, Spanish gato, French chat (12c.). Independent, but ultimately from the same source are words in the Slavic group: Old Church Slavonic kotuka, kotel'a, Bulgarian kotka, Russian koška, Polish kot, along with Lithuanian kate and non-Indo-European Finnish katti, which is from Lithuanian.

Extended to lions, tigers, etc. c.1600. As a term of contempt for a woman, from early 13c. Slang sense of "prostitute" is from at least c.1400. Slang sense of "fellow, guy," is from 1920, originally in U.S. Black English; narrower sense of "jazz enthusiast" is recorded from 1931.

Cat's paw (1769, but cat's foot in the same sense, 1590s) refers to old folk tale in which the monkey tricks the cat into pawing chestnuts from a fire; the monkey gets the nuts, the cat gets a burnt paw. Cat bath "hurried or partial cleaning" is from 1953. Cat burglar is from 1907, so called for stealth. Cat-witted "small-minded, obstinate, and spiteful" (1670s) deserved to survive. For Cat's meow, cat's pajamas, see bee's knees.

CAT

1975, medical acronym for computerized axial tomography or something like it. Related: CAT scan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bell cat in Medicine

CAT abbr.
computerized axial tomography

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for bell cat

cannon

noun

A pistol; firearm; piece: He holstered his own cannon (1900+ Underworld)

Related Terms

loose cannon


cat 2

noun

A bulldozer or Caterpillar tractor

[1940s+; fr Caterpillar, trademark for a kind of continuous-track tractor]


cat 3

noun

A catamaran boat (1960s+)


Cat

noun

A Cadillac: Tia Juana pulled up in his long green Cat (1940s+ Black)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for bell cat

cat

cataract

CAT

  1. Caterpillar Inc.
  2. clear air turbulence
  3. computerized axial tomography
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with bell cat
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

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6
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