like a cat on a hot tin roof

like a cat on a hot tin roof
also, like a cat on the hot bricks

Meaning

  • in a state of agitation.
  • acting skittish.
  • being in an uneasy state.
  • being extremely worried and nervous.
  • being in an anxious state.

Examples in Sentences

  1. The coach acted like a cat on a hot tin roof throughout the game.
  2. She was pacing like a cat on a hot tin roof as she waited for the doctor’s results.
  3. Despite the merger’s success, he still acted like a cat on a hot tin roof.
  4. Ants in his pants caused him to act like a cat on a hot tin roof.
  5. When she realized that she had limited time to finish the work, she was like a cat on the hot bricks.

Origin

This idiom is the American equivalent of the British-English phrase, “like a cat on hot bricks.” The earliest use of the phrase appears in the 2nd edition of John Ray’s (1627–1705) A Collection of English Proverbs, where he talks of going “like a cat upon a hot bakestone.” We can find the earliest evidence of the idiom “a cat on hot bricks” in the Passages from the Late Dolly Duster’s Diary, published in 1838. The earliest official use of the phrase comes in the 26th March 1842 issue of the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal, used by a veterinary surgeon, John Poulton.

The earliest use of the American version appears in the June 6th, 1921, issue of the Daily Gazette-Times. Tennessee Williams made it famous in his 1955 play of the same name, with several allusions to it throughout the play.

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L 1 Thought

1 Thought

I think as school goers we learnt “monkey on hot bricks.”

- Ahona November 7, 2022

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