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

To break your cat of its licking habit, give him something better to focus on — a toy that dispenses treats as it is played with, or a sock of catnip — before applying lotion. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "What’s in my hand lotion that appeals to this Oakland cat?," 21 June 2019 Season 2, by contrast, had to measure up to the standard set by the first season, an awards-sweeping bouquet of critical catnip. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "In Defense of Big Little Lies’ Second Season," 22 July 2019 The Amazon fires are catnip for proponents of radical action on the climate. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Amazon Scam," 30 Aug. 2019 Where to watch: Netflix (season 1), on demand, YouTube Diagnosis This seven-episode docuseries is catnip for folks who love medical mysteries. Wired, "8 Movies and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Weekend," 30 Aug. 2019 His pledge to threaten Brussels with walking away without a deal and withhold the nearly $50 billion the UK owes Europe, unless Europe agrees to renegotiate May's deal, is catnip to a certain type of Conservative. Luke Mcgee, CNN, "Boris Johnson, the divisive Brexit-backing populist or the charming liberal metropolitan? UK has no idea which leader it'll get," 13 July 2019 With the plot focused on a movie theater and Drea’s background as a performer with Broadway dreams, the book will be catnip for any movie or musical theatre lover, with references abounding to plenty of beloved films and stage shows. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Hot Stuff: July romances offer 'knotty' self-discovery," 30 July 2019 Since then the role has become like catnip for aspiring pre-teen actresses, including my daughter. Tom Titus, Daily Pilot, "On Theater: ‘Bad Seed’ still a good chiller," 16 July 2019 Whereas Johnson is catnip for Westminster journalists — always ready to offer a colorful quote, or a picture of him stuck halfway down a zip line — Jeremy Hunt offers much less in terms of showbiz appeal. Alexander Smith, NBC News, "Boris Johnson's to lose: Race for next U.K. leader nears the endgame," 18 June 2019

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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Statistics for catnip

Last Updated

15 Oct 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 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 catnep (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

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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

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