Cat’s-paw: a pawn or dupe

Meaning: From a fable, perhaps of Aesop’s, in which a crafty monkey uses flattery to convince a cat to pull hot chestnuts from a fire. The cat singes his paw, and the monkey gobbles up the chestnuts leaving none for the cat…

cat’s-paw (plural cat’s-paws or cats’-paws)

  1. (figuratively) A pawn or dupe; somebody who has been unwittingly tricked into acting in another’s interest.
  2. A knot of a certain kind resembling a lark’s-foot hitch; see cat’s paw for more detailed information.
  3. A breeze that ruffles patches of a water surface.
  4. A small crowbar.



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