Sailor Speak of the Week – No room to swing a cat



  • An area is crowded.


18th century. British military. First recorded in 1771.


Originally meant to imply that there’s not enough space to carry out a flogging with a cat o’nine tails. Nowadays, it simply means that a space is crowded.


Crowell, J. (2003, October 31). Naval Terminology, Jargon and Slang FAQ Part 2 – N through Z. Retrieved from

Not enough room to swing a cat. (2020). In Retrieved from

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