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Kitty Cat Catchphrases

Posted on 05/01/14 in Pets
Cats in a BasketIncreasingly, households in America are taking on the care and responsibility of a beloved pet. One promotional product that reflects this notion is the pet first aid kit branded with a company logo. Pets have affected many aspects of our lives, although perhaps some of the most confusing catchphrases are about these furry friends. For example, where did the phrase "cat's pajamas" or "it's raining cats and dogs" really come from?

The Cat's Pajamas

This is an unusual phrase because historians cannot agree on just where it came from. "The cat's pajamas," which originated in the United States in the 1920s, was meant to describe something that was top notch. While disputed, some claim a British tailor named EB Katz, who reportedly made the finest silk pajamas in all the land, coined the phrase.

Raining Cats and Dogs

When it's "raining cats and dogs," the fact that it's pouring is indisputable - unlike the origin of the phrase, which may have come from a number of sources. Some historians believe the Norse mythological figure Odin, a god of storms who was often depicted with dogs and wolves, gave rise to the phrase. Odin, representing the wind while witches flew through the air, is often pictured with black cats to represent heavy rain.

Another theory, "cats and dogs" could come from the Greek cata doxa, a phrase that means "unbelievable" - as in, if it's raining cats and dogs, it's raining unbelievably hard.

Finally, "cats and dogs" may refer to the now dead word "catadupe," which meant "waterfall" and derived from the Latin catadupa, referring to white water rapids and waterfalls in the Nile River. In this interpretation, "raining cats and dogs" may mean it's raining so hard you may as well be standing under a waterfall.

Cat Got Your Tongue

There are several different theories about the phrase "cat got your tongue," a common way to ask why someone is silent or unresponsive. One idea is that the phrase may have originated from a Middle Eastern punishment from many centuries ago, where the tongues of liars were cut out and fed to a ruler's cats. Some believe the phrase may also refer to the cat-o-nine-tails, a flogger used to beat sailors into silence.

The English language is full of bizarre and unusual phrases that over the years have become commonplace. Though their history is often unclear, they are definitely fun phrases with which to pepper our speech.

Author: Robert Stillman CEO

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