cat's cradle

noun

Definition of cat's cradle

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

Illustration of cat's cradle

Illustration of cat's cradle

cat's cradle 1

Examples of cat's cradle in a Sentence

a cat's cradle of government regulations

First Known Use of cat's cradle

1754, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cat's cradle

Time Traveler for cat's cradle

Time Traveler

The first known use of cat's cradle was in 1754

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cat's cradle

Cite this Entry

“Cat's cradle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cat%27s%20cradle. Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cat's cradle

cat's cradle

noun

English Language Learners 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

More from Merriam-Webster on cat's cradle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cat's cradle

Comments on cat's cradle

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

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!