\ ˈkats-ˌpȯ How to pronounce cat's-paw (audio) \
plural cat's-paws

Definition of cat's-paw

1 : a light air that ruffles the surface of the water in irregular patches during a calm
2 [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 powers— D. J. Boorstin
3 : a hitch knot formed with two eyes for attaching a line to a hook — see knot illustration

First Known Use of cat's-paw

circa 1769, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Cite this Entry

“Cat's-paw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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