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- Any of the about 250 species of flowering plant of the genus Nepeta, family Lamiaceae, certain of which are said to have medicinal qualities.
- Nepeta cataria and Nepeta grandiflora (and perhaps other species), which are well-known for causing an apparently harmless pheromone-based intoxication among certain cats.
- Coordinate term: silver vine
- Some cats go bonkers over catnip; others ignore it.
- 2021 January 20, Sofia Moutinho, “Why cats are crazy for catnip”, in Science, DOI:doi:10.1126/science.abg6551:
- But exactly how catnip—and a substitute, known as silver vine—produce this feline high has long been a mystery. Now, a study suggests the key intoxicating chemicals in the plants activate cats’ opioid systems much like heroin and morphine do in people.
- (figuratively) Something that causes excitement or interest.
- 2016 October 24, Owen Gibson, “Is the unthinkable happening – are people finally switching the football off?”, in The Guardian, London:
- Since Rupert Murdoch famously bet the farm on Premier League football to rescue Sky TV in 1991, it has been the catnip that has underpinned subscriber loyalty and, even in a far more complicated media landscape, is seen as so vital as to be worth almost any price.
- 2019 September 14, Elizabeth Paton, “A Fashion/Food Blowout in the Shadow of Brexit”, in New York Times:
- This hot new Shoreditch trattoria already is catnip for the style set.
plant of the genus Nepeta
specific species which causes intoxication among cats
- catnip on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- Nepeta on Wikispecies.Wikispecies
- “catnip”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
catnip m (plural catnips)