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like a cat on hot bricks

Also, like a cat on a hot tin roof. Restless or skittish, unable to remain still, as in Nervous about the lecture he had to give, David was like a cat on hot bricks. The first expression replaced a still earlier one, like a cat on a hot bake-stone, which appeared in John Ray's Proverbs (1678). The second was popularized as the title of Tennessee Williams's play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955).
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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