What Does the Cat’s Pajamas Mean?

Before we start let’s get the spelling of pajamas out of the way. The most commonly used spelling worldwide is ‘pajamas‘. In the UK we prefer ‘pyjamas’. There’s no right or wrong about this – the word derives from the Persian and Urdu word pay-jama, so you might say pajamas and pyjamas have an equal claim to authenticity. I’ve opted here for the spelling normally used in the USA as that is where ‘the cat’s pajamas‘ was coined.

This has been used as a term of excellence, both in the 1920s and up until today, but differs from the other flapper era expressions in that, as well as a literal reference to the whiskers of a cat, it was the name of the thin tuning wires on early crystal radio sets. By the mid 1920s the US phrases the cat’s eyebrows/pajamas had become well enough established to have travelled to the UK, as seen in this extract from the London newspaper The Daily Herald , May 1923:

What does the phrase the cat's pajamas mean?

: a highly admired or exceptionally excellent person or thing He’s the cat’s pajamas, I couldn’t love, respect, admire, and enjoy that individual more than I do.—

Where did the phrase the cats pajamas come from?

American cartoonist Thomas Aloysius “Tad” Dorgan is often credited with coining this colorful phrase, which is used to refer to someone or something wonderful or remarkable. It is one of a handful of slang expressions to emerge in the early to mid-1920s featuring animals.

Is the cat's pajamas a metaphor?

A terrific thing. This was a nonsensical phrase of the 1920s that meant something worth seeing or having. A similar phrase was the “cat’s meow.”

How do you use cat's pajamas in a sentence?

When I introduced my great grandmother to the internet, she said it was the Cat’s Pajamas, which apparently means it’s awesome..If something is so amazing you can’t contain your excitement, you could say that it is the Cat’s Pajamas.

The Cats Pajamas? 7 Purrfect Idioms Published June 12, 2016 To rain cats and dogs This phrase means to rain very heavily, but why cats and dogs? Despite the fact that these two animals generally prefer to keep their distance from one another, cats and dogs have been paired in expressions to evoke strife or hostility since the 1570s. Their coupling in this tempestuous expression could be a gesture toward the inhospitable conditions a heavy rainstorm produces. The phrase first appeared as it shall raine..Dogs and Polecats. Polecats might refer to ferrets or skunks. 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It is one of a handful of slang expressions to emerge in the early to mid-1920s featuring animals. Bees knees, canarys tusks, and fleas eyebrows are a few of the others. var crb_dynamic_links = crb_dynamic_links || []; crb_dynamic_links.push( {“terms”:[{“term”:”der”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/der\/”},{“term”:”AR”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ar\/”},{“term”:”nd”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/nd\/”},{“term”:”B”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/b\/”}],”selector”:”.single-crb_slideshow .slide[data-id=’cats-pajamas‘]”}); To make a cat laugh This lesser-known expression is said of something very funny, as in That YouTube video was enough to make a cat laugh. Fittingly, playwright James Robinson Planche used it in 1838 when he adapted the French fairy tale Puss in Boots for the stage: Allow us just applause to win Enough to make a cat laugh. The origin on this phrase is unknown, but perhaps its a play on whats widely perceived to be the dignified and composed disposition of the feline. var crb_dynamic_links = crb_dynamic_links || []; crb_dynamic_links.push( {“terms”:[{“term”:”yout”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/yout\/”},{“term”:”boo”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/boo\/”},{“term”:”POS”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/pos\/”},{“term”:”IG”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ig\/”},{“term”:”nd”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/nd\/”},{“term”:”PO”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/po\/”},{“term”:”yw”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/yw\/”},{“term”:”B”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/b\/”}],”selector”:”.single-crb_slideshow .slide[data-id=’to-make-a-cat-laugh’]”}); Curiosity killed the cat Before curiosity, it was care that killed the cat. The phrase care killed the cat appeared in Shakespeares Much Ado About Nothing in 1599: though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care. In this expression, the word care refers to a burdened state of mind or anxiety, and the phrase is probably a reference to the myth that cats have nine lives, making them difficult to extinguish. var crb_dynamic_links = crb_dynamic_links || []; crb_dynamic_links.push( {“terms”:[{“term”:”AR”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ar\/”},{“term”:”nd”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/nd\/”},{“term”:”TY”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ty\/”},{“term”:”B”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/b\/”}],”selector”:”.single-crb_slideshow .slide[data-id=’curiosity-killed-the-cat’]”}); A cat may look at a king This now obscure idiom was used to express the set of things that an inferior may do in front of a superior. In his 1721 Universal Etymological English Dictionary, lexicographer Nathan Bailey referred to this as a saucy proverb used by pragmatic persons as a reminder of class etiquette, for tho peasants may look at and honor great men, patriots, and potentates, yet they are not to spit in their faces. var crb_dynamic_links = crb_dynamic_links || []; crb_dynamic_links.push( {“terms”:[{“term”:”der”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/der\/”},{“term”:”ICO”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ico\/”},{“term”:”que”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/translations\/que\/”},{“term”:”AR”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ar\/”},{“term”:”nd”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/nd\/”},{“term”:”OG”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/og\/”},{“term”:”PO”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/po\/”},{“term”:”TY”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ty\/”},{“term”:”B”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/b\/”}],”selector”:”.single-crb_slideshow .slide[data-id=’a-cat-may-look-at-a-king’]”}); Let the cat out of the bag From the cat-o-nine-tails to the pig in a poke scam, there are a number of fanciful stories about the origin of this curious phrase, meaning to divulge a secret, but none have been verified. We do know that its been with us for a few centuries; the first record of its usage is from 1760, and Charlotte Bronte used it in her 1849 novel, Shirley: This last epithet I choose to suppress, because it would let the cat out of the bag. When it comes to the true origins of this phrase, the cat remains very much in the bag. var crb_dynamic_links = crb_dynamic_links || []; crb_dynamic_links.push( {“terms”:[{“term”:”OOS”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/oos\/”},{“term”:”AR”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ar\/”},{“term”:”IG”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/ig\/”},{“term”:”nd”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/nd\/”},{“term”:”PO”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/acronyms\/po\/”},{“term”:”B”,”url”:”https:\/\/www.dictionary.com\/e\/slang\/b\/”}],”selector”:”.single-crb_slideshow .slide[data-id=’let-the-cat-out-of-the-bag’]”}); To turn the cat in the pan From wearing pajamas to looking at kings and raining with dogs, cats have found themselves in quite a few peculiar scenarios in the English language. 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: a highly admired or exceptionally excellent person or thing
He’s the cat’s pajamas, I couldn’t love, respect, admire, and enjoy that individual more than I do. Drew Barrymore, quoted in Harper’s , 1 Oct. 2010

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