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pussyfoot

[poo s-ee-foo t] /ˈpʊs iˌfʊt/
verb (used without object)
1.
to go or move in a stealthy or cautious manner.
2.
to act cautiously or timidly, as if afraid to commit oneself on a point at issue.
noun, plural pussyfoots.
3.
a person with a catlike, or soft and stealthy, tread.
4.
Chiefly British. a teetotaler or prohibitionist.
Origin
1890-1895
1890-95, Americanism; pussy1 + foot
Synonyms
2. hedge, dodge, sidestep, straddle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for pussy-foot

pussyfoot

/ˈpʊsɪˌfʊt/
verb (intransitive)
1.
to move about stealthily or warily like a cat
2.
to avoid committing oneself
noun (pl) -foots
3.
a person who pussyfoots
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 pussy-foot

pussyfoot

v.

also pussy-foot, 1903, "tread softly," from pussy (n.1) + foot (n.). As a noun from 1911, "a detective," American English, from the nickname of U.S. government Indian Affairs agent W.E. Johnson (1862-1945), in charge of suppressing liquor traffic on Indian reservations in Oklahoma, who was noted for his stealthy tactics. Related: Pussyfooting; pussy-footed (1893).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pussy-foot

pussyfoot

v,v phr

To be careful and hesitant; be evasive; tergiversate; beat around the bush: Please stop pussyfooting and get to the point

[1903+; fr the nickname of W E Johnson, given because of his catlike stealth as a law-enforcement officer in the Indian Territory (Oklahoma); Johnson became a famous advocate of Prohibition, and the term briefly meant ''prohibitionist'']


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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