whip the cat

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whip the cat

1. obsolete To get very drunk My guess is that Father is out whipping the cat again, while I remain here providing for our family.
2. obsolete To shirk one's work or duties. The luckless fellow was accused of whipping the cat, and just like that, was removed from his lowly job as quickly as he had come to fill it.
3. obsolete To play a practical joke (on someone). They led me to believe my family had been taken by the authorities, but it soon became clear they were merely whipping the cat.
4. obsolete To go door to door to do work for others, as an itinerant tailor, carpenter, or other laborer might. The poor fellow has been reduced to whipping the cat, and you can see him soliciting the houses every day looking for a bit of work that might see him eat for the next few days.
See also: cat, whip

whip the cat

1 complain or moan. 2 be sorry; show remorse. Australian & New Zealand informal
See also: cat, whip