no room to swing a cat


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Related to no room to swing a cat: Not enough room to swing a cat

no room to swing a cat

Very little or no space; very cramped quarters or proximity. Many families are forced to live in tiny apartments that have no room to swing a cat. They overbooked the conference, and by the time we were all in the room there was no room to swing a cat.
See also: cat, no, room, swing

no room to swing a cat

mainly BRITISH
If there is no room to swing a cat in a place, it is very small with very little space. Inside, there is no room to swing a cat, and everything you see is the most basic junk. Note: Swing a cat is used in other negative structures and expressions with a similar meaning. It was billed as a large, luxury mobile home, but there was barely room to swing a cat. We went into the ward, and my first thought was, how is she going to sleep? You couldn't swing a cat. Note: The `cat' in this expression is probably a `cat-o'-nine-tails', a whip with nine lashes which was used in the past for punishing offenders in the army and navy. However, the expression could be connected with the practice in the past of swinging cats by their tails as targets for archers.
See also: cat, no, room, swing

no (or not) room to swing a cat

used in reference to a very confined space. humorous
The cat in this expression is probably a ‘cat-o'-nine-tails’, a form of whip with nine knotted cords. In former times these whips were used to flog wrongdoers, especially at sea.
See also: cat, no, room, swing

no room to swing a ˈcat

(informal) (of a room) very small; not big enough: In most modern student accommodation there’s not enough room to swing a cat.I’d love a bigger kitchen. There isn’t room to swing a cat in this one. Cat in this phrase does not mean the animal, but probably a special kind of whip (= a piece of rope or leather attached to a handle), called a ‘cat-o’-nine-tails’, that was used to punish sailors.
See also: cat, no, room, swing