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    #1

    who's 'she' - the cat's mother?

    How would this idiom sound if it were applied to a male?

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: who's 'she' - the cat's mother?

    What idiom would that be?


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    #3

    Re: who's 'she' - the cat's mother?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    What idiom would that be?
    The one which is the name of the thread.


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    #4

    Re: who's 'she' - the cat's mother?

    As is known it is not polite to refer to sb's opinion as 's/he thinks' in this person's presence. So if somebody says 'She doesn't agree with that' they can hear a cutting remark like 'Who's she - the cat's mother?' But suppose it's a man who is referred to. Would it be correct to use this phrase without changing 'she' and 'mother' in it?

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    #5

    Re: who's 'she' - the cat's mother?

    I've not heard the phrase before, but here's what I could find:

    From Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British": 'she' is a (or 'the') cat's mother. One of the two or three best-known of the domestic catchphrases, this has, mid (?early) C19-20, been addressed, usually by a parent, to a child, whether very young or teenaged, referring thus to his or her mother. By 1960, slightly ob.

    There is a variant.: 'who is "she"? the cat's grandmother?': late C19-mid C20.

    We don't have this saying in the US as far as I know. From what Partridge says, I gather that it's used to reprimand children for calling their mothers "she" instead of something more proper.

    Re: Who's she - the cat's mother?



    She's the cat's mother - A rebuke

    A rebuke to someone who refers to a woman as 'she' instead of by her name, either formal or informal. The 'she' in the phrase is the female of a cat, the male being a 'tom', and is not to be applied to a woman when you're in her company.

    CatStuff: Cat-Related Idioms / Phrases and their Origin

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    #6

    Re: who's 'she' - the cat's mother?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    As is known it is not polite to refer to sb's opinion as 's/he thinks' in this person's presence. So if somebody says 'She doesn't agree with that' they can hear a cutting remark like 'Who's she - the cat's mother?' But suppose it's a man who is referred to. Would it be correct to use this phrase without changing 'she' and 'mother' in it?
    Certainly not "without changing...", and it would sound very strange even if you did make the appropriate changes - 'Who's he - the cat's father?' would only be understood by analogy with the 'mother' version; and I've never heard it.

    b

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