cat’s pajamas


cat’s pajamas


  • excellent or outstanding.
  • stylish or fashionable.
  • small or insignificant (used ironically).
  • nonsensical or trivial (used humorously).

Example Sentences

  1. Wow, your drawing of a dinosaur is the cat’s pajamas.
  2. Tom’s magic trick was the cat’s pajamas at the party.
  3. Look at Sarah’s new dress, it’s the cat’s pajamas.
  4. I thought the movie was supposed to be good, but it turned out to be the cat’s pajamas.
  5. The story about a flying elephant wearing sunglasses is just the cat’s pajamas.

Origin and History

The idiom “cat’s pajamas” was popular in the 1900s, and there are various theories behind its origins.

T.A. Dorgan, a famous cartoonist, is accredited for coining expressions like “cat’s meow” and “cat’s pajamas.” In 1920, “cat’s pajamas” became part of the flapper language during the Jazz Age. Dorgan propagated it quickly through his cartoon strip, Indoor Sports. It is one absurd term among countless others employed by chill-out kids at that time. It just happens to be one term associating an animal with a body part or clothes.

Another theory suggests that the idiom existed before the 1920s. It traces back to England in the early 1800s, when a tailor named E.B. Katz sewed silk pajamas for royalty and upper-class people. His brilliant work and tailoring garnered praise for Katz’s pajamas, and he was particularly favored by King George III.

In North America, the term “Katz’s pajamas” was likely spread by commissioned officers during the period when the British Empire fell. Over time, “Katz’s pajamas” evolved into “cat’s pajamas,” popularized again by flappers in the 1920s.

Another explanation for the phrase could be that the phrase originated from the association between “cat” as a slang term for a cool person and the novelty of pajamas in the 1920s. Pajamas, still relatively new as daytime apparel, were seen as modern and stylish. Thus, “cat’s pajamas” came to signify something excellent or trendy.

Furthermore, linguistic evidence suggests that “cat’s pajamas” might have originated from the broader trend of animal-themed idioms prevalent during the period. These phrases, such as “bee’s knees” and “cat’s whiskers.”

Additionally, cultural factors influenced the adoption of pajamas into Western fashion, contributing to the phrase’s popularity. While the term “pajamas” originated in India, their adoption as nightwear in Western culture led to their association with comfort and modernism.

Despite variations in spelling between “pajamas” and “pyjamas,” the phrase’s early usage in American newspapers and later appearances in British publications demonstrate its intercontinental popularity.

Whether coined by T.A. Dorgan, or developed from E.B. Katz’s work, or evolved from broader linguistic trends, the idiom endures as a symbol of excellence.

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