Did you know that long before cats and kittens[baby cats] invaded the internet with their cute and funny videos (and pictures), these loveable creatures invaded the English language with idioms and expressions?
Actually, cats are as much a part of the English language as they are a part of your Facebook and Youtube entertainment.
In my opinion, you aren’t fluent until you know at least a few cat idioms, and today we are going to teach you the thirteen most important and popular cat expressions that every English learner needs to know.
1. Cat Got Your Tongue? (say something!)
It’s very common to say “(Has a) Cat Got Your Tongue?” when you’re asking somebody why they aren’t speaking. It’s not disrespectful, and is often very effective communication. This expression originates in medieval times when kings punished liars by cutting off their tongues and then feeding it to their cats.
2. A Copycat (a person who copies/imitates another)
Kids often call each other “copy cat” when somebody copies them, and adults may joke around with this too. For example, a young boy who copies his brother’s haircut may be called a copycat.
當孩子們之間有人抄襲別人的時候，他們就會稱那個抄襲的人為“copy cat”。成人之間有時也會用這個開玩笑。例如，一個年輕的男孩模仿他哥哥的發型就很可能被叫做“copy cat(模仿者)”。
3. It’s Raining Cats and Dogs (it’s raining very hard)
This is very commonly used to describe the weather when it’s raining hard. The origin of this expression comes from the fact that cats were once known to symbolize strong wind, and dogs symbolized rain.
4. Scaredy Cat/ Fraidy Cat (coward)
A fraidy or scaredy cat is someone is afraid to do something. The “y” is a diminutive used by kids. Adults may jokingly use these too. Because cats are known to back down (escape, run from) dogs, kids use this to make fun of their scared classmates.“
A fraidy or scaredy cat”用來描述某人害怕做某件事。“y”這個音節經常被小孩紙使用。成年人也可能用這個來開玩笑。因為，眾所周知，貓會害怕、逃避狗，于是孩子們便用這個來取笑他們膽小的同學。
5. Let the Cat Out of The Bag? (accidentally tell a secret)
To let the cat out of the bag is to unintentionally ruin a secret. An example of this might be if you accidentally reveal a surprise birthday party to the person the party is for. The origin of the idiom is said to be in medieval markets when Piglets (baby pigs) were put in a bag to be sold, and every once in a while a seller would try to replace the piglet with a cat (which was cheaper), until somebody would open the bag and let the cat out (ruining the thief’s secret).
"let the cat out of the bag”是指無意中泄露了秘密。舉例來說，你無意中向壽星泄露了將要舉行的生日派對。這個成語的由來是這樣的：據說是在中世紀的市場，小豬是被放在袋子里出售的，有一次賣方會試圖將小豬換成小貓(更便宜)，如果不是有人打開袋子，讓貓跑出來(拆穿了奸商的秘密)。
6. Fat Cat (rich and powerful person)
Fat cat is a colloquial way to describe someone who has a lot of wealth and power. If you think about a stereotypical rich person (at least traditionally), the image may resemble a well-fed cat that is almost never skinny.
7. Cat Burlgar (skilled, sneaky burglar/thief)
A Cat Burglar is a thief or robber who robs somebody’s home in a silent and sneaky way. Think of a cat walking in the dark, with ninja-like movements, almost without making a noise.
“A Cat Burglar”是那種會用安靜而狡猾的方式盜竊別人家的小偷或強盜。想象一只在黑暗中行走的貓，它有忍者般的動作，幾乎不不會發出任何聲響。
8. Play Cat and Mouse (to strategically chase, tease, torture)
To play cat and mouse is for somebody or something to chase the other in a very strategic, teasing, and game-like way (like a cat chasing and playing with a mouse). Think of a superhero movie when the villain is chasing an innocent person in a cruel, strategic way.
“play cat and mouse”玩貓捉老鼠的游戲，是指某人或某事用戰略性的手段挑釁和追逐著其他人(就像貓在追老鼠)。想象在一個超級英雄電影里面，反派人物在用各種殘忍狡猾的方式追殺一個無辜善良的人。
9. Look What the Cat Dragged In! (an unpleasant surprise to see you)看看撞上了哪只討厭貓!(見到你真讓人不痛快)