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    #1

    cat got one,s tongue

    Dear teachers,

    Would you please explain to me the meaning as well as the usage of the following idiom:"cat got one's tongue" as in "We haven't heard from you all morning-has the cat got your tongue?"

    I think that the expression " got your tongue" = lose your tongue, be dumbfounded

    Could you tell me something about the origin of this idiom?

    Regards.

    V.

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    #2

    Re: cat got one,s tongue

    I like this explanation: "Its origin lies in the way of outdoor cats dragging little captives, chipmunks and such, into the house."

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    #3

    Re: cat got one,s tongue

    Hi Hi-there-Carl,

    Thank you for your prompt reply.

    Thank you also for the explaining the origin of the idiom "cat got one's tongue". I was much taken with it.

    The idiom's theme is very interesting and taking but at the same time very difficult of access.

    Regards.

    V.


    • Join Date: Feb 2007
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    #4

    Re: cat got one,s tongue

    I've researched this back and forth and still not come up with satisfactory documentation for any of the various answers. The following is from a BBC website;
    This probably comes from medieval practice in the Middle East where it was common to cut off a thief's hand and tear out a liar's tongue. The severed body parts were often served to the animals.

    Another source suggests that the cat in question is "The cat o' nine tails"; a kind of whip used for punishing sailors in Nelson's navy.

    There were various other, equally feasible answers, but they were unfortunately equally undocumented!

    Sorry Vil...can't help you this time!
    Moggy


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    #5

    Re: cat got one,s tongue

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you please explain to me the meaning as well as the usage of the following idiom:"cat got one's tongue" as in "We haven't heard from you all morning-has the cat got your tongue?"

    I think that the expression " got your tongue" = lose your tongue, be dumbfounded

    Could you tell me something about the origin of this idiom?

    Regards.

    V.
    Others have talked about the idiom's origin but as far as the meaning goes,
    this is a mildly sarcastic expression used to get someone to start talking.

    The person saying this expression is suggesting that the reason the person is not answering questions is because his tongue is missing. They want to have the person to answer the question and they use sarcasm to try to do it.

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    #6

    Re: cat got one,s tongue

    Hi Moggy,

    Thank you for your ingenious reply. It gives me a leg up. Now I might to get in my stride, to give the reins to my imagination. The point of the matter is that someone did something wrong, he felt unwell, he was conscious-stricken, You know , a guilty mind is never at easy. This guilty person [I can well imagine that he could be a liar, or a pilferager (a person which has stolen small amounts of property), he might spoil something valuables] refused to answer any question.(we haven't heard him to speak all the morning).I comes natural to ask him to speak, and put a question to him "whether the cat got his tongue?" (see your supposition for the medieval practice in the Middle East to cut a liar's tongue and to serve it to the cat.)

    Well, it panned out that from what I expected - a true to life explanation which render truly a real situation.

    Thank you again for your attention.

    Regards.

    V.

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    #7

    Re: cat got one,s tongue

    Hi Naamplao,

    Thank you for your temperate and distinct opinion. I am one with you.

    You set down to brass tacks - without trappings and imagination. And yet, the highlight of this idiom is the misssing tongue-the peculiar missing link.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Regards.

    V.

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