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[kat-nip] /ˈkæt nɪp/
a plant, Nepeta cataria, of the mint family, having egg-shaped leaves containing aromatic oils that are a cat attractant.
Also, especially British, catmint.
Origin of catnip
1705-15, Americanism; cat1 + nip, variant of Middle English nep catnip, apocopated variant of Old English nepte < Medieval Latin nepta, variant of Latin nepeta Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for catnip
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The newspapers pounced on them with joy, as cats pounce and purr on catnip.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • At this juncture catnip tapped at the door and put in his head.

    Dust Julian Hawthorne
  • I alays hev my own catnip en sheep balls foh sum cases need one kind of tea en sum ernother.

  • "Then get him a pennyworth of catnip and put it on my bill," I said benevolently.

    The Champagne Standard Mrs. John Lane
  • Boneset, wormwood and catnip had their places on the wall, together with ears of corn and strings of dried apples.

    The Strollers Frederic S. Isham
British Dictionary definitions for catnip


another name for catmint
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 catnip

1712, American English, from cat (n.) + nip, from Old English nepte "catnip," from Latin nepta, name of an aromatic herb. The older name is Middle English catmint (mid-13c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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catnip in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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