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Cat's-paw   Listen
noun
Cat's-paw  n.  
1.
(Naut.)
(a)
A light transitory air which ruffles the surface of the water during a calm, or the ripples made by such a puff of air.
(b)
A particular hitch or turn in the bight of a rope, into which a tackle may be hooked.
2.
A dupe; a tool; one who, or that which, is used by another as an instrument to a accomplish his purposes. Note: In this sense the term refers to the fable of the monkey using the cat's paw to draw the roasting chestnuts out of the fire.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Cat's-paw" Quotes from Famous Books



... smart; I tell you he's too damned smart for you!" responded Mr. Rivers, who had very little respect for Mr. Blaisdell's business ability, but found him a very convenient cat's-paw. ...
— The Award of Justice - Told in the Rockies • A. Maynard Barbour

... generally unconscious and mostly unintentional. After a policy of bullying towards France for forty-four years, Germany has discovered during the course of the war that France is the cat's-paw of Russia and ...
— What Germany Thinks - The War as Germans see it • Thomas F. A. Smith

... mastery. Yet outside on the moaning levels of the dim sea there are mysterious and ghostly sights that might move the heart of the veriest stockbroker if he would but force his mind to consider them. Look at that dark tremulous stream that seems to flow over the sullen sea. It is but a cat's-paw of wind, and yet it looks like a river flowing in silence from some fairy region. The boats start out of the haze and glide away into dimness after having shown their phantom shadows for a few seconds; the cry of the gull rings weirdly; the simulated agony of the staunch bird's scream makes ...
— Side Lights • James Runciman

... to take a kingdom which he believed to be his by right; which he had formerly demanded of William. When he arrived there, he found himself a mere cat's-paw for recovering that kingdom for an incapable boy, whom he believed to have no right to the ...
— Hereward, The Last of the English • Charles Kingsley

... urge, "You are losing great masses of men through your inexplicable failure to adopt their cause." And the Church in the whole course of its history has constantly yielded to this temptation, and has not seen until too late that in so doing it was making itself the tool or the cat's-paw of one interest or another whose sole interest in religion was the possibility of exploiting the influence of the Church. In the stupid hope of forwarding its spiritual interests the Church has entangled itself ...
— Our Lady Saint Mary • J. G. H. Barry

... tumult, and threatened to make an example of him and to interdict the Parliament. In short, the exercise of power had made the woman mad. De Retz reflected. If the queen designed to punish him, she should have something to punish him for. He was not the man to be made a cat's-paw of. ...
— Historical Tales, Vol. 6 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality. French. • Charles Morris

... Hallam rose alertly. "But why should she wait there? To be sure, we've never met; but I have known her father for many years." Her eyes held steadfast to his face; shallow, flawed by her every thought, like the sea by a cat's-paw he found them altogether inscrutable; yet received an impression that their owner was now unable to ...
— The Black Bag • Louis Joseph Vance

... proceed to the matter in point, my word is pledged to fight. I will plunge the country I love into civil war to gain her rights, as greater patriots than I have done before. But the thing which I will not do is to be made the cat's-paw, or to suffer Ireland to be made the cat's-paw, of Germany. If war should come before the settlement of my business, this is the position I should take. I would cross to Dublin, and I would tell every Nationalist Volunteer to shoulder his rifle and ...
— The Double Traitor • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... Brown fetched from the forepeak, where it lay stiff and cold, and committed to the waters of the lagoon; and the washing of the cabin rudely finished. All these were done ere mid-day; and it was past three when the first cat's-paw ruffled the lagoon, and the wind came in a dry squall, which presently sobered ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 13 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... tender indulgence as before. Meanwhile Ramsey and the cub pilot had caught up the cane's two parts and laid them in the hands of the actor, who quietly resheathed them while Basile mocked the twins. "So that's the way Hayles," jeered the lad, "stand by a cat's-paw friend, is it?" ...
— Gideon's Band - A Tale of the Mississippi • George W. Cable

... people, and the last thing he counted on was the murder of the scribe who had promised him columns of descriptive matter in the press. The pert musician was not the first, nor would he be the last, to find that the role of cat's-paw is apt to prove more exacting than was anticipated. To his chagrin, he saw himself changed suddenly from a trusted agent into a dupe, and his utter collapse on hearing of the murder fitted in exactly with the theory taking shape in the detective's mind—that ...
— One Wonderful Night - A Romance of New York • Louis Tracy

... very pretty scheme of yours; but it seems to me that I am to be nothing more than a cat's-paw in the affair. You have only given me half your confidence. You must give me the whole of it before I can agree to act as you wish. I want to hear the whole history of the case, and how you came to be mixed up in it. Further, I want to know how ...
— The Argosy - Vol. 51, No. 6, June, 1891 • Various

... of the attack, it now appeared that Loquia had lost many men killed; others who were wounded dropped on the way, and died on the route through Belinian. This loss so enraged Loquia (who considered that he had been only used as a cat's-paw), that he was determined not to return home empty-handed. He therefore revenged himself upon his allies, and captured about 2,000 head of cattle from Belinian, with which he returned to his mountains two ...
— Ismailia • Samuel W. Baker

... and water, and the fish went into the flurries, and came nigh capsizin' the boat with its tail as it lashed the water into foam. At last it gave in, and we had a four hours' pull after that, to tow the carcase to the ship, for there wasn't a cat's-paw of wind ...
— The Red Eric • R.M. Ballantyne

... under tropic skies, and while other and worthier women were sweltering three in a stuffy box below, it had cost but a smile. The captain had repented him of his magnanimity before the lights of Honolulu faded out astern. The General began to realize that he had been made a cat's-paw of and, his amour propre being wounded, he had essayed for a day or two majestic dignity of mien that became comical when complicated with the qualms of seasickness. There was even noticeable aversion on part of some of the officers of the Dudes who, having ...
— Found in the Philippines - The Story of a Woman's Letters • Charles King

... Morty, and I'm not so desperately asinine as you seem to think," was the besotted one's summing-up. "I know the Rajah doesn't split hairs in a business fight, but he is hardly unscrupulous enough to use Miss Carteret as a cat's-paw." ...
— A Fool For Love • Francis Lynde

... prove it? You say that the crown matrimonial which I denied you is to be conferred on you by these lawless men? Believing that, you signed their pardon and recall from exile. Ha! You do not see, my lord, that you are no more than their tool, their cat's-paw. You do not see that they use you but for their ends, and that when they have done with you, they will serve you as they served poor Davie? No, you see none of that, which is why I call you a fool, that need a woman's wit to open ...
— The Historical Nights' Entertainment • Rafael Sabatini

... ever been so ill as Hermione supposed. Perhaps Artois was one of those men who liked to have a clever woman at his beck and call. These literary fellows were often terribly exigent, eaten up with the sense of their own importance. But he, Maurice, was not going to allow himself to be made a cat's-paw of. He would make Artois understand that he was not going to permit his life to be interfered with by ...
— The Call of the Blood • Robert Smythe Hichens

... would have a disgraceful history, and a disastrous end—that it would be used by the General for the purposes of stealing, and that the head of it would not be content to share the plunder with others. He had no wish to be his principal's cat's-paw, or to be identified with an enterprise in which, deprived of both will and voice, he should get neither profit nor credit. So ...
— Sevenoaks • J. G. Holland

... stretched forefinger tapping me on both hands, which were clenched as in prayer, addressed to me these identical remarkable words, "My dear fellow, the licence is a mere watchword of the day, and they make a cat's-paw of you." ...
— The Eureka Stockade • Carboni Raffaello

... though the ultimate action of the Legislature had been really brought about by a lifelong friend of Colonel Langdon, the senior Senator from the State, James Stevens, who had not hesitated to flatter Norton and use him as a cat's-paw. This use the Hon. Charles Norton seemed to consider an honor of large proportions. Not every first-term Congressman can hope for intimacy with a Senator. Norton believed that his work for Langdon would win him the family's gratitude and thus further his ambition to marry Carolina, the planter's ...
— A Gentleman from Mississippi • Thomas A. Wise

... day, sea of deepest blue, without even the faintest cat's-paw to wrinkle its shining face; a morning warm, genial, windless, reminiscent of fairest summer, such a day as landsmen rejoice in, feeling that it is good to be alive. But the glass came tumbling down, the sea heaved sullenly in ...
— Stories of the Border Marches • John Lang and Jean Lang

... 'And, Clare, do you mean to say that you are not aware that your daughter has been engaged to Mr. Preston for some time— years, I believe,—and has at last chosen to break it off,—and has used the Gibson girl—I forget her name,—as a cat's-paw, and made both her and herself the town's talk—the butt for all the gossip of Hollingford? I remember when I was young there was a girl called Jilting Jessy. You'll have to watch over your young lady, or she will get some such name. I speak to you like a friend, Clare, when I tell ...
— Wives and Daughters • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... squall to wind'ard, skipper; 'ta'n't no cat's-paw neither; good no-no-east, ef it's a flaw. And you landlubbers are a-goin' to leeward, some ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. I, No. 1, Nov. 1857 • Various

... pass over as a joke this attempt to stir my blood. That you are desirous of getting rid of your rival, I can very well comprehend, and that, because you might have some difficulty in supplanting the son, you endeavor to make a cat's-paw of the father, I can also understand—I am even delighted to find that you are master of such excellent qualifications in the way of roguery. Only, friend Worm, pray don't make me, too, the butt of your knavery. Understand ...
— The Works of Frederich Schiller in English • Frederich Schiller

... allotted task. That which is exactly due for the pay you receive, do for honour and honesty's sake. But do no more; show no zeal: above all, trust not to any sense of justice for reward of any work done in excess of the bargain. Incur no responsibility, or you will be made a cat's-paw of. ...
— For Fortune and Glory - A Story of the Soudan War • Lewis Hough

... at Amsterdam were far too busy to attend to my affairs. They were in the midst of equipping an armament to land on Irish shores and strike at England with the cat's-paw of an Irish rebellion. The place was full of Irishmen, some of whom honestly enough looked to see their country redeemed by Dutch saviours; others, hungry hangers-on, seeking what profit to themselves ...
— Kilgorman - A Story of Ireland in 1798 • Talbot Baines Reed

... "He was a cat's-paw, Lilly. Never believe otherwise. My boy was caught and trapped in the filthy cesspool of politics. There are men in this city—men whom I named at the trial, all the good it did me, living and prospering for doing ...
— Star-Dust • Fannie Hurst

... idea of most Americans, when a hard and fast alliance with Great Britain is suggested to them, usually formulates itself in the statement that they have no wish to be made into a cat's-paw for pulling England's chestnuts out of the fire. America has no desire to be drawn into England's quarrels. Until less than ten years ago, there was justification for the point of view; for while England seemed to be ever ...
— The Twentieth Century American - Being a Comparative Study of the Peoples of the Two Great - Anglo-Saxon Nations • H. Perry Robinson

... across Oder, to watch Soltikof, and guard Breslau from any attempts of his,—which are far from HIS thoughts at this moment;—a Soltikof fuming violently at the thought of such cunctations, and of being made cat's-paw again. "Know, however, that I understand you," violently fumes Soltikof, "and that I won't. I fall back into the Trebnitz Bog-Country, on my own right bank here, and look out for my own safety."—"Patience, your noble Excellenz," ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XX. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... with bitter emphasis, "you're the one—we know that! You're the cat's-paw, with your clubs and your benefits." He turned to Hamilton, and went on speaking with even greater virulence. "It's through her that you're fighting; it's through her that you're attacking us in our homes; it's through her ...
— Making People Happy • Thompson Buchanan

... whose histories I know by the absorption of a lifetime's experience. I know that it was Mrs. Bliven's husband—we always called her that, of course—who expected to arrest the pair of them as they crossed the Dubuque ferry; and that I was made a cat's-paw in slipping her past her pursuers and saving Bliven from arrest. I know that Buckner Gowdy was a wild and turbulent rakehell in Kentucky and after many bad scrapes was forced to run away from the state, and was given his huge plantation of "worthless" land—as he called it—in Iowa; that ...
— Vandemark's Folly • Herbert Quick

... at him keenly, with hesitating suspicions. "Ah! Duke Stephen's cat's-paw! I remember you—well!" But before the words were fairly out of her mouth, Agatha's voice had ...
— The Stolen Singer • Martha Idell Fletcher Bellinger

... was a contemptible thing to suggest; but any one who stoops, as I was letting myself do, to use a cat's-paw to work out his ends will surely soil his fingers. The sword is the clean weapon. I felt that even this Indian would look at me with disdain, but she did not. She thought a moment, then ...
— Montlivet • Alice Prescott Smith

... disclosure as a prod I could have made him jump through hoops. It wasn't necessary. As soon as I showed him the different blueprints and explained the possibilities he understood. If anything, he was more eager than I was to find out who was using his administration as a cat's-paw. By silent agreement the documents ...
— The Misplaced Battleship • Harry Harrison (AKA Henry Maxwell Dempsey)

... his friends were being plundered, and perhaps murdered by a gang of miscreants before his eyes! How eagerly and repeatedly did he scan the horizon for the coming breeze! How did Hope raise her head at the slightest cat's-paw that ruffled the surface of the glassy waters! Three successive gales of wind are bad enough; but three gales blowing hard enough to blow the devil's horns off are infinitely preferable to one idle, stagnant, motionless, confounded calm, oppressing you with the blue-devils ...
— Newton Forster • Frederick Marryat

... man would have been such a fool as to come forward with them so soon after his victim's death! This claimant doesn't know how or where or when they were obtained—he doesn't suspect that murder's in it. Now, then—where did he get them? Who's at the back of him? Who—to be plain—who's making a cat's-paw of him? Find that out, and we shall know who ...
— The Middle of Things • J. S. Fletcher

... them herself,—don't tell me; at least somebody else put her up to it,—that strong-minded-looking teacher over yonder, for instance. She looks capable of anything, and something worse, in the denouncing way; poor little beauty was her cat's-paw this morning." ...
— What Answer? • Anna E. Dickinson

... Sound. The twilight shades and colours were beautiful in a sad sort of way, but the stillness was awful. Whenever the wind fell light new ice would form which seemed to crack and be churned up with every cat's-paw of wind. The currents and tidal streams would slowly carry these pancakes of ice up and down the Strait until the weather was calm enough and cold enough to cement them together till they formed floes, which in their turn froze fast into great white icefields strong enough ...
— South with Scott • Edward R. G. R. Evans

... Mrs. McKaye hated the unfortunate general manager. She told herself that, had he been possessed of the brains of a chipmunk, he would have pointed out to her the danger of her course; that he had not done so was proof that the craven had feared to compromise himself. He had made a cat's-paw of her, that's what he had done! He had taken advantage of a momentary lack of caution—the result of her impetuous mother love. Ah, what a blockhead the man was, not to have warned her of the diplomatic dangers ...
— Kindred of the Dust • Peter B. Kyne

... could be trusted, but that Palmerston could not. This was the diplomatic tradition, especially held by the Russian diplomats. Possibly it was sound, but it helped in no way the education of a private secretary. The cat's-paw theory offered no safer clue, than the frank, old-fashioned, honest theory of villainy. Neither the one nor the ...
— The Education of Henry Adams • Henry Adams

... his countryman that, being an accomplice in the crime, making himself the leader in the persecution against the helpless girl, he was willing to be all this in the spirit, and with the conscious vileness of a cat's-paw. Never from the foundations of the earth was there such a trial as this, if it were laid open in all its beauty of defence and all its hellishness of attack. Oh, child of France! shepherdess, peasant ...
— The English Mail-Coach and Joan of Arc • Thomas de Quincey

... have blown me and Jonadab over with a cat's-paw. We went on our beam ends, so's to speak. A relation of Peter T.'s; why, if he'd been twice the panorama he was we'd have let him in when he said that. Loud clothes, we figgered, must run in the family. We remembered how Peter was dressed the first time ...
— Cape Cod Stories - The Old Home House • Joseph C. Lincoln

... just about seven o'clock in the evening. The boat was well out in the bay, between three and four miles from land, when John noticed a fresh "cat's-paw" of wind, just touching the water here and there. There was scarcely a cloud in the sky, and nothing whatever to suggest a squall. But as he looked again, a suspicious wisp of white water lifted suddenly from the surface a few yards to windward. Like a flash he remembered ...
— Labrador Days - Tales of the Sea Toilers • Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

... that," answered Jack, "I have no wish to quarrel with you, or any other man; but it strikes me I have been made a 'cat's-paw' of, and I tell you frankly I should like to know our object in coming ...
— John Deane of Nottingham - Historic Adventures by Land and Sea • W.H.G. Kingston

... back from the sick mare, Dick paused once to listen to the restless stamp of Mountain Lad and his fellows in the stallion barn. In the quiet air, from somewhere up the hills, came the ringing of a single bell from some grazing animal. A cat's-paw of breeze fanned him with sudden balmy warmth. All the night was balmy with the faint and almost aromatic scent of ripening grain and drying grass. The stallion stamped again, and Dick, with a deep breath and realization that never had he more loved it all, looked up and circled the sky-line ...
— The Little Lady of the Big House • Jack London

... the amusement of baiting the other man's evident misery soon palled. He was a little annoyed himself that Joan should have seen fit to drag him in as such a cat's-paw, for a very few minutes of their threesome had shown him what his part was intended to be. It meant in addition that the girl had fooled him, and that he had wasted his background of red roses. It was all very annoying and a very stupid ...
— To Love • Margaret Peterson



Words linked to "Cat's-paw" :   pawn, supporter, helper, hitch



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