cat·​nip | \ ˈkat-ˌnip \

Definition of catnip

1 : a strong-scented perennial mint (Nepeta cataria) that has whorls of small pale flowers in terminal spikes and contains a substance attractive to cats
2 : something very attractive

Examples of catnip in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Part classic New England clam shop and part millennial catnip, The Canteen has something for everyone. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips From Boston," 9 Aug. 2018 In the full spring light, the Mississippi River Basin Model is catnip for geography professors. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 YouTubers punching one another in the face is catnip to the large swath of YouTubers who make videos about YouTube drama. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Instagram’s verification system is useful, fair, and Twitter should copy it," 29 Aug. 2018 Olivia La Roche’s Instagram is catnip for vintage lovers. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "This Online Vintage Shop Is a Haven for Downtown-Minded Cool Girls," 22 Oct. 2018 Reggie made his way to a catnip plant and nibbled away. Morgan Greene,, "Reggie the runaway cat, at the center of court custody battle, is back home in Logan Square," 28 June 2018 The lovely kitty cat loves to play with different kinds of toys but is especially fond of feather toys and ones that have catnip in them. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Adopt a dog or cat from metro Phoenix shelters this week," 5 July 2018 Attract this flying insect by planting catnip, goldenrod, and hydrangea. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "10 Insects You Should Actually Want Around Your Plants," 11 May 2016 All of this is understandable catnip to the newspaper critic. Mark Swed,, "A little operatic help for newspapers: ‘La Gazzetta’ couldn't be better timed," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catnip.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of catnip

1712, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for catnip

cat entry 1 + obsolete nep catnip, from Middle English, from Old English nepte, from Latin nepeta

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Dictionary Entries near catnip








Statistics for catnip

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for catnip

The first known use of catnip was in 1712

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More Definitions for catnip



English Language Learners Definition of catnip

: a type of mint that has a strong smell which is attractive to cats


cat·​nip | \ ˈkat-ˌnip \

Kids Definition of catnip

: a plant that is a mint with a smell especially attractive to cats


cat·​nip | \ -ˌnip \
variants: also catnep \ -​ˌnep, -​nəp \

Medical Definition of catnip

1 : a strong-scented mint (Nepeta cataria) that has small pale flowers in terminal spikes and contains a substance attractive to cats

called also cataria, catmint

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More from Merriam-Webster on catnip

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with catnip

Spanish Central: Translation of catnip

Nglish: Translation of catnip for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about catnip

Comments on catnip

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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