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Needs formatting; idioms ought to be moved to separate pages and links to them added. — Paul G 11:12, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Should probably have a picture of a full grown cat instead of a kitten. --Pmsyyz 23:26, 9 July 2005 (UTC)

Etymologies confusing, kat?[edit]

I find the three different etymologies without explicit relationships to the various definitions of cat to be confusing.

What is the third etymology (Wolof suffix -kat) about? (referring to the etymology entered by User:Eean, 19:08, 24 December 2004‎) this unsigned comment by User:Erl, 11:43, 8 May 2006‎ (UTC)

They are three different nouns with entirely different meanings.

The second one is an abbreviation of a noun that can be searched separately.

The third 'cat' is also an abbreviation of an UNIX command, in computing.

I hope that this answers your question adequately.

Regards. this unsigned comment by User:Werdna Yrneh Yarg, 19:43, 12 August 2015‎ (UTC)

This was a very old question about cat in the sense of hepcat from 2006. That etymology was changed a long time ago. —Stephen (Talk) 21:04, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

Tom cats[edit]

I have attended classes in Russian language, and I have been told that кот isn't any cat, it is only a tom cat. My dictionary agrees with this. So кот, Kater, and other words that mean merely a tom cat shouldn't be listed as synomyms of a cat. They should be only in article tom cat, or tomcat. (Either of the links should be a redirect to avoid a duplicate entry.) 21:14, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

What do Russians say when they don't know if it's male or female? Kappa 23:58, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
They call it кошка. And Germans call it Katze, although I'm not so sure about the latter. 00:59, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Translations are rarely exact. The word "cat" is the gender-nonspecific (i.e. the speaker hasn't bothered to declare the sex), but "кошка" is gender-unknown (i.e the animal is female or speaker really doesn't know its sex). To illustrate, note that many English sentences that use the word "cat" are accurately translated into Russian as "кот", e.g. "I had my cat fixed" and "The cat likes his food." So, "кот" is good to include in the translations of "cat". Rod (A. Smith) 20:30, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

This "leet"ism common enough yet?[edit]

redirected from Talk:Cat

The "Cool Cat" internet/leet meaning for "Daddy-o" seems to be missing. Has it entered general use yet? Or, if it has, should it be treated as a suffix, e.g. -Cat, since that seems to be gaining in usage? (Meaning such-and-such a type of person; one who is very good or preoccupied with X. E.g. WiktionaryCat.) Is it too specialized, for inclusion?

--Connel MacKenzie 20:02, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Isn't "Cool Cat" much older than leet? Such as the song "Summer in the city" by "Lovin' Spoonful" from the 60's, with lines like:
Hot town, summer in the city
Cool cat, looking for a kitty
(Granted, there was the Arpanet around, but it wasn't that widespread.)

Wakuran 13:44, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Probably evolved from hepcat (addict of swing music), which is from 1938. —Stephen 23:12, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, seems probable. On the other hand, I think I read the first post too sloppy and didn't understand that Connel MacKenzie was referring to a special meaning. Wakuran 00:43, 13 April 2009 (UTC)


A cat also means a hooker. A fairly well known term in UK. 13:27, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Ancient Greek[edit]

Where does the gloss of γαλή for "domestic cat" come from? Herodotus uses αἴλουρος when talking about household animals (2.66). Isn't γαλῆ usually translated "weasel"? (at least in Aristophanes: Ach. 255; Plu. 693)--- 03:35, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

γαλῆ (or γαλέη) meant both weasel and cat. —Stephen 19:53, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I have heard that domestic cats were not common in Europe before the Roman conquest of Egypt. This may be why the Greeks did not have a distinct word for it. Redddogg 02:54, 27 June 2010 (UTC)


Is this really a distinct meaning? It sounds like just a natural slang way of talking about the fish. Not sure what that's called. Redddogg 02:57, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

BTW "cat" is also used as a nickname for a catamaran, and on Wikipedia for a category.Redddogg 13:54, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
(Regarding [1]) Whoa, not so fast. These are senses of the word. It doesn't matter that they were formed by shortening. See e.g. intel for intelligence. It functions as a noun, not an abbreviation; likewise the ones you removed. Equinox 17:08, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
I am not any kind of expert, however it seems to me that using "cat" as a nickname when it is the first sylable of a longer word is not really a meaning of the word "cat" and doesn't belong on this page. If someone called the city of Sacramento, California "Sack" would we put that on the page for "sack"? I don't think we should. Redddogg 17:16, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
It is. Take the example of "cat o' nine tails". If you read in a book "the sailors were beaten with a cat", you would look up "cat" and wonder why they were flogged with a four-legged animal. "Cat" alone can mean "cat o' nine tails". A similar sort of thing is "plane" for "aeroplane". Equinox 17:19, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Good point. However I still think "cat" for "catfish" is fairly trivial. Are we going to put every casual expression here? If so then "cat" for "catamaran" should probably be included. I have heard that one used. Redddogg 17:23, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
If it's in casual use then the "informal" or "slang" gloss is appropriate; it's still, of course, a word. We have the catamaran sense already; scroll down a bit; it's under a separate etymology. (Some of the other top ones should be split out into other etys too, I suspect.) Equinox 17:26, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

RFV discussion[edit]

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The following senses had comments (here, put in bold to make them visible) but were not listed at RFV:

  1. (archaic) A mess of coarse meal and clay, placed in dovecotes to allure strangers. Huh? This is gibberish.
  2. (archaic) (countable) A ferret. This may be bogus; polecat is a term for ferret but use of "cat" by itself to refer to a ferret or other mustelid DEMANDS a reliable source citation.

—This unsigned comment was added by Paul G (talkcontribs).

rfvfailed Cynewulf 19:28, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

RFV discussion: June 2014[edit]

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Rfv-sense: An animal

Ungoliant (falai) 01:26, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

Is this really a matter for rfv? The sense in question is obviously intended as a dummy placeholder sense to group subsenses under. If it's allowable to do so, then there's nothing to rfv. It it's not, there's no need to rfv something that's already excluded for other reasons. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:57, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree. The issue here is not whether a sense is attestable, but how to structure the entry. The place for this is the tea room. —Mr. Granger (talkcontribs) 02:00, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
Is it? If so, I oppose such practice. Supersenses should be actual senses of the word, not just placeholders. — Ungoliant (falai) 02:02, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
There's no rule against placeholder senses, AFAIK, and they do occur (Aaron's rod and bergamot have some), but I think they should end in colons rather than full stops, and in many cases they are helped by wording to the effect to "any of several [X]s:" — I suggest amending this one to "Any of several animals:", if it is kept. (Note that not all senses which head groups of subsenses need to end in colons. "A person." is fine as it is, because "cat" can mean "a person" — it's a valid sense that happens to have subsenses, rather than just a placeholder for grouping subsenses.) I don't think it's actually useful to group the "house cat" and "catfish" senses, though, so in this case I'd rather just remove the placeholder and elevate the subsenses into full senses... - -sche (discuss) 02:11, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
If it said "A kind of mammal:" or "One of various kinds of mammals:", possibly followed by "especially", wouldn't that be good enough? DCDuring TALK 02:24, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
I’m withdrawing the RFV and rewriting the definition with the wording you suggest, as there is little I can do about this practice. — Ungoliant (falai) 02:27, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
@DCDuring: that would work if the "catfish" sense were removed from that group of subsenses. And since I am of the opinion the catfish sense should be removed from the group of subsenses, I've removed it and reworded the first sense into a true sense complete with a citation: [2]. What do you (DCDuring, Ungoliant, all) think? - -sche (discuss) 03:26, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
I’m happy with it. — Ungoliant (falai) 03:28, 8 June 2014 (UTC)


Whoever presented the Online Etymology Dictionary with the absurd assumption that Late Latin was the origin of the various Germanic and Celtic forms for cat, cannot be relied upon, since wild cats were in Scotland long before such periods when it was possible to borrow lexemes from Late Latin and we do not see any other or older native forms in those Celtic dialects. So caution is necessary when drawing from such online source; etymologies from collaboration among qualified etymologists (or at least, scholars) are best accessed, before presenting etymologies from such other sources! The book bound etymologies of the Oxford multi-dictionaries are safest here! The Hebrew comparison is, I believe, borrowed, for no such word exists in the Hebrew lexicon. Andrew H. Gray 19:49, 20 January 2017 (UTC)Andrew talk

The existence of cats does not mean the word could not have been borrowed later. For example, there could have been another word in use before that was replaced. --WikiTiki89 19:53, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
The age of a borrowing isn't necessarily the same as the thing it refers to. Cattle, pigs, and sheep were no doubt eaten in England before the words beef, pork, and mutton were borrowed. — Eru·tuon 20:49, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Discussion of the etymology subsequently took place at Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2017/July#cat (and Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2017/December#Proto-Celtic_*kattā_"cat"). - -sche (discuss) 22:39, 27 December 2017 (UTC)