The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
cat \cat\ (k[a^]t), n. [AS. cat; akin to D. & Dan. kat, Sw.
katt, Icel. k["o]ttr, G. katze, kater, Ir. cat, W. cath,
Armor. kaz, LL. catus, Bisc. catua, NGr. ga`ta, ga`tos, Russ.
& Pol. kot, Turk. kedi, Ar. qitt; of unknown origin. Cf.
1. (Zool.) Any animal belonging to the natural family
Felidae, and in particular to the various species of the
genera Felis, Panthera, and Lynx. The domestic cat
is Felis domestica. The European wild cat (Felis
catus) is much larger than the domestic cat. In the
United States the name wild cat is commonly applied to
the bay lynx (Lynx rufus). The larger felines, such as
the lion, tiger, leopard, and cougar, are often referred
to as cats, and sometimes as big cats. See Wild cat, and
[1913 Webster +PJC]
Note: The domestic cat includes many varieties named from
their place of origin or from some peculiarity; as, the
Angora cat; the Maltese cat; the Manx cat; the
Laying aside their often rancorous debate over
how best to preserve the Florida panther, state
and federal wildlife officials,
environmentalists, and independent scientists
endorsed the proposal, and in 1995 the eight cats
[female Texas cougars] were brought from Texas
and released. . . .
Uprooted from the arid hills of West Texas, three
of the imports have died, but the remaining five
adapted to swamp life and have each given birth
to at least one litter of kittens. --Mark Derr
(N. Y. Times,
Nov. 2, 1999,
Note: The word cat is also used to designate other animals,
from some fancied resemblance; as, civet cat, fisher
cat, catbird, catfish shark, sea cat.
(a) A strong vessel with a narrow stern, projecting
quarters, and deep waist. It is employed in the coal
and timber trade.
(b) A strong tackle used to draw an anchor up to the
cathead of a ship. --Totten.
3. A double tripod (for holding a plate, etc.), having six
feet, of which three rest on the ground, in whatever
position it is placed.
4. An old game; specifically:
(a) The game of tipcat and the implement with which it is
played. See Tipcat.
(b) A game of ball, called, according to the number of
batters, one old cat, two old cat, etc.
5. same as cat o' nine tails; as, British sailors feared
[1913 Webster + WordNet 1.5]
6. A catamaran.
Angora cat, blind cat, See under Angora, Blind.
Black cat the fisher. See under Black.
Cat and dog, like a cat and dog; quarrelsome; inharmonious.
"I am sure we have lived a cat and dog life of it."
Cat block (Naut.), a heavy iron-strapped block with a large
hook, part of the tackle used in drawing an anchor up to
Cat hook (Naut.), a strong hook attached to a cat block.
Cat nap, a very short sleep. [Colloq.]
Cat o' nine tails, an instrument of punishment consisting
of nine pieces of knotted line or cord fastened to a
handle; -- formerly used to flog offenders on the bare
Cat's cradle, game played, esp. by children, with a string
looped on the fingers so, as to resemble small cradle. The
string is transferred from the fingers of one to those of
another, at each transfer with a change of form. See
Cratch, Cratch cradle.
To bell the cat, to perform a very dangerous or very
difficult task; -- taken metaphorically from a fable about
a mouse who proposes to put a bell on a cat, so as to be
able to hear the cat coming.
To let the cat out of the bag, to tell a secret, carelessly
or willfully. [Colloq.]
Bush cat, the serval. See Serval.