a cat may look at a king

a cat may look at a king

Meaning

  • Someone who is inferior in any form is not totally restricted in how they behave in front of a superior.
  • It refers to some freedom that minions take in front of their masters.
  • The phrase talks about the boldness that cats shows even in front of their masters and get them to stroke them.

Example Sentences

  1. Her boss had just entered but she still went on break. This cat looks at the king on a daily basis.
  2. He talks to his wife in a way that a cat may look at a king.
  3. A cat may look at a king but for you to tell your boss that he is not being fair to you seems impossible.

Origin
The earliest known use in literary form was in 1562 in a book that was a collection of English proverbs ‘The Proverbs And Epigrams Of John Heywood’. This leads us to believe that the proverb was in use prior to that but there is no known source to prove usage prior to this point. The proverb was further made famous by Oswald Dykes in 1713 in another book which was a collection of proverbs. It was more about moral, political and social reflections.

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