Also: Like something the cat brought in
Meaning of the Idiom ‘Like Something the Cat Dragged In’
A person who looks like something the cat dragged in is messy, bedraggled, dirty, or exhausted looking. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
The expression is basically used to mean ‘you don’t look good.’ It is not intended to be cruel but instead carries a touch of lightheartedness.
Examples Of Use
“As for getting up in the dead of night to feed the baby, Billy says I look like desolation–’like something the cat dragged in,’ was his latest pretty compliment. – Saturday’s Child (Kathleen Norris, 1914)
“He sure looks like something the cat dragged in,” Hank continued. “What for you don’t bury him in time?” – Saturday Evening Post (Volume 184, 1911)
“A razor,” Pike pleaded. “I want to get rid of this spinach. I must look like something the cat dragged in.” Everybody’s Magazine (Volume 47, 1922)
Used since around 1910.
This idiom alludes to a cat bringing his prey, such as a mouse or bird, home.
More Idioms Starting with L
- Lump In Your Throat
- Last Resort
- Loudmouth, be a
- Let Bygones Be Bygones
- Leopard Can’t Change Its Spots, a
More Animal Idioms
More Cat Idioms
More Drag Idioms
More ‘In’ Idioms
- Have Someone in the Palm of One’s Hand
- Last One In is a Rotten Egg
- Runs in the Family
- Day In And Day Out
- In For It (or Something), to be
More Like Idioms
- Sell Like Hot Cakes
- Two Peas in a Pod, like
- Read Someone Like a Book
- In Like Flynn, to be
- Drink Like a Fish
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