cat·​nip | \ ˈkat-ˌnip How to pronounce catnip (audio) \

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 The Information's Apple scoop was catnip for critics of U.S. firms and investors with extensive business dealings in China. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 9 Dec. 2021 His mix of virtuosity, sincerity and positivity is a big part of what made Batiste catnip for Grammy voters. Rob Tannenbaum, Los Angeles Times, 7 Dec. 2021 The entire experience can best be described as Instagram catnip. Brad Japhe, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 Well, Black Friday *is* around the corner, and these early-bird deals are seasonal catnip for savvy shoppers. Talia Abbas, Glamour, 12 Nov. 2021 But its mix of gravitas, sentimentality, salty wit, tragedy, and roman à clef storytelling is most definitely Academy catnip. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 12 Nov. 2021 CeraVe skin products, a cleaning paste called The Pink Stuff, catnip called Cat Crack and certain pair of now-famous leggings. Scott Nover, Quartz, 28 Sep. 2021 While Montgomery’s brash, colorative works from a decade ago have been string-ensemble catnip for years, other Ear Taxi concerts showcased her more recent preoccupations. Hannah Edgar,, 6 Oct. 2021 Millennial catnip Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been drafted in, presumably to up the ante on the double entendres, and perhaps bring about a kind of colloquial modernity that Bond has never quite nailed. Raven Smith, Vogue, 30 Sep. 2021

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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Last Updated

16 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Catnip.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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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 How to pronounce catnip (audio) \

Kids Definition of catnip

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


cat·​nip | \ -ˌnip How to pronounce catnip (audio) \
variants: also catnep \ -​ˌnep, -​nəp How to pronounce catnip (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on catnip

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


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