Cat got your tongue?


      • challenge or provoke someone
        To question or challenge someone who is being unusually quiet or uncommunicative, often implying that they have something to hide or are avoiding the truth

      • surprise or shock someone
        To express surprise or shock at someone's sudden silence or inability to speak, often in a playful or teasing manner

      • speechlessness or loss of words
        To convey that someone is unable to speak or has lost their ability to articulate, often due to fear, embarrassment, or confusion

    Examples of Cat got your tongue?

    • After asking her several questions, Sarah suddenly fell silent, and I couldn't help but think, "Cat got your tongue?"

      This idiom is used to express confusion or surprise when someone suddenly stops speaking, as if they have been rendered speechless by some mysterious force, much like a cat that has stolen their tongue.2. Pulling someone's leg

    • My friend told me a hilarious story about winning the lottery, but I soon realized he was pulling my leg.

      This idiom is used to describe a situation where someone is telling a joke or an exaggerated story, intending to deceive or amuse the listener.3. Let the cat out of the bag

    • We had been keeping our secret project a secret for weeks, but unfortunately, someone let the cat out of the bag.

      This idiom is used to describe a situation where a secret or surprise has been unintentionally revealed, much like a cat that has escaped from its confinement.4. Beat around the bush

    • Instead of giving a straightforward answer, he kept beating around the bush.

      This idiom is used to describe a situation where someone avoids giving a direct answer to a question, often by providing irrelevant or circumlocutory information.5. Spill the beans

    • I accidentally spilled the beans about our surprise party to one of the guests.

      This idiom is used to describe a situation where someone unintentionally reveals a secret or surprise, much like spilling the contents of a container.


    The idiom "cat got your tongue?" is used in various contexts but all share the common theme of someone being unable to speak or communicate effectively. It can be used to provoke someone into speaking or to express surprise at their silence. It can also be used to convey speechlessness or loss of words.

    Origin of "Cat got your tongue?"

    The origin of this idiom is uncertain, but there are a few theories. One possible explanation is that it originated from ancient Egypt, where liars' tongues were said to be fed to cats as punishment. Another theory suggests that it originated from the practice of whipping soldiers who were caught sleeping on duty, with the whip being referred to as a "cat-o'-nine-tails". This punishment was said to leave the soldiers speechless and unable to explain themselves.

    Another possible origin of the idiom is from a medieval torture device called the "pilcrow", which was used to force confessions from prisoners. The device was placed in the mouth and resembled a cat's tongue, hence the saying "cat got your tongue?" being used as a taunt towards someone who is being uncommunicative.

    Regardless of its origin, the idiom has been used since the 19th century and remains a popular phrase in English-speaking countries. Its playful and teasing nature adds to its enduring popularity.