Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

cat's cradle

noun

Simple Definition of cat's cradle

  • : a game played with a string that is wrapped around your fingers in complex patterns

  • : something that is very complicated

Full Definition of cat's cradle

  1. 1 :  a game in which a string looped in a pattern like a cradle on the fingers of one person's hands is transferred to the hands of another so as to form a different figure

  2. 2 :  something that is intricate, complicated, or elaborate <a cat's cradle of red tape>

Examples of cat's cradle

  1. a cat's cradle of government regulations



Illustration of cat's cradle

1754

First Known Use of cat's cradle

1754


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up cat's cradle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez spindrift kittly-benders duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ