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Jan 11, 2008
This week's theme
Whose what? (animal edition)

This week's words
mare's nest
dog's letter
sheep's eyes
donkey's years
cat's paw

cat's paw
The Cat's Paw
Art: Edwin Henry Landseer

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

cat's paw

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

cat's paw (cats paw) noun

1. Someone used as a tool by another.
2. A kind of knot used to connect a rope to an object.
3. A breeze that ruffles the surface of the water over a small area; also the area ruffled by such a breeze.

[For 1: From the fable in which a monkey uses a cat to pull roasting chestnuts from a fire. The monkey gobbles up all the nuts while the cat is left with a burnt paw.
For 2: From the supposed resemblance of such a knot to a cat's paw.
For 3: Origin unknown.]

See more usage examples of cat's-paw in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

"Prime Minister Tony Blair was reprimanded in the British parliament for his willingness to be the cat's paw of the U.S."
Craig R. Eisendrath and Melvin A. Goodman; Shoot First, Talk Later; USA Today (Washington, DC); Jul 1, 2004.

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It is not how old you are, but how you are old. -Jules Renard, writer (1864-1910)

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