plural cat's-paws
: a light air that ruffles the surface of the water in irregular patches during a calm
[from the fable of the monkey that used a cat's paw to draw chestnuts from the fire] : one used by another as a tool : dupe
the … government became the cat's-paw for foreign powersD. J. Boorstin
: a hitch knot formed with two eyes for attaching a line to a hook see knot illustration

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1769, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cat's-paw was circa 1769


Dictionary Entries Near cat's-paw

Cite this Entry

“Cat's-paw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2023.

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