cat got your tongue

cat got your tongue

Meaning

  • used to refer a time when someone has nothing to say
  • a situation in which someone is finding it hard to say anything in their defence
  • trying to compel or urge someone to speak up when they are being unnecessarily quiet

Example Sentences

  1. Speak up boy or cat got your tongue?
  2. Amanda grew quiet during the heated argument that I was forced to ask her “Cat got your tongue?”
  3. The shy boy was afraid to speak up and his mates kept asking him “Cat got your tongue?”
  4. Are you dumb or cat got your tongue?
  5. With the way you are keeping silent, one would wonder if the cat got your tongue?

Origin

This phrase has an interesting origin. In the 18th century, the English Navy had the practice of whipping erring sailors with a whip which had multiple endings. This whip was nicknamed “the cat” because it commonly had nine endings. So after receiving a beating, while the poor sailor lay in a corner sulking or not speaking, other sailors will walk up to him and tease “Did the cat get your tongue?”, referring to the whip. As time went on, this became shortened to Cat got your tongue?

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Idiom of the Day

by dint of
by dint of Meaning: as result of something. Example: Mark got what he wanted by dint of requesting and threatening.

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