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

Definition

Idiom

  • An area is crowded.

Origin

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

Comments

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.

References

Crowell, J. (2003, October 31). Naval Terminology, Jargon and Slang FAQ Part 2 – N through Z. Retrieved from http://www.hazegray.org/faq/slang2.htm

Not enough room to swing a cat. (2020). In Dictionary.com. Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/not-enough-room-to-swing-a-cat.

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