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cat's whiskers

Something or someone that is highly enjoyable, desirable, or impressive, especially in a fancy or elaborate way. Tom's new Cadillac is really the cat's whiskers! Boy, that singer last night was the cat's whiskers, wasn't she?
See also: whisker

by a hair('s breadth)

 and by a whisker
Fig. just barely; by a very small distance. I just missed getting on the plane by a hair's breadth. I made it onto the last flight by a hair!
See also: hair

win by a nose

Fig. to win by the slightest amount of difference. (Can be literal in horses races.) I ran the fastest race I could, but I only won by a nose. Sally won the race, but she only won by a nose.
See also: nose, win

within a whisker of something

close to something Yesterday, the price of oil came within a whisker of its all-time high. An asteroid came within a whisker of crashing into the earth.
See also: of, whisker, within

be the cat's whiskers

  (British & Australian)
to be better than everyone else I thought I was the cat's whiskers in my new dress.
See also: whisker

by a whisker

by a very small amount Last time she raced against the Brazilian she won by a whisker. He missed the goal by a whisker.
See also: whisker

come within a whisker of something/doing something

if you come within a whisker of doing something, you almost do it or it almost happens to you He came within a whisker of beating the world champion. Several times on his trek through the jungle he came within a whisker of death.
See also: come, of, whisker, within

by a hair

Also, by a hairbreadth or whisker . Very narrowly. For example, His serve was out by a hair, or We made our flight by a hairbreadth, or Dad missed hitting the pole by a whisker. The first two hyperboles for the very narrowest margin date from the 1300s and 1400s respectively; whisker meaning "a small amount" was first recorded in 1913. Also see by the skin of one's teeth; hang by a hair.
See also: hair

win by a nose

Also, win by a whisker. Just barely succeed, as in Sally's political cartoon came in first in the contest, but I heard that she won by a nose . This term comes from horseracing, where from about 1900 on it referred to a finish so close that only a portion of the horse's nose reached the finish ahead of the second horse. A whisker-that is, a hair-is a narrower margin yet. [Second half of 1900s]
See also: nose, win

Mr. Whiskers

and Uncle Whiskers and whiskers (man)
n. a federal agent. (Underworld. From the whiskers of Uncle Sam.) Mr. Whiskers is trying to get me to pay tax on those few bucks. If Uncle Whiskers finds out what you’re doing, you’re done for.
See also: Whisker

Uncle Whiskers

See also: uncle, Whisker

whiskers man

See also: man, whisker


See also: whisker
References in periodicals archive ?
Get whiskered away: Flights to Miami start at around PS434 return then it's around a 150-mile drive.
A series of blue etchings depicted female archetypes, among them a middle-age angel entitled Melancholia, an anxious Dorothy with dog Toto, a whiskered Wolf Girl in a lacy cap, and a bereft Virgin Mary (all 1999).
There are fewer than 2,000 manatees, the large sea mammals that resemble whiskered baked potatoes, in U.
Their distinguishing features--sand dunes whiskered with native grasses, fairways with hidden bunkers and hollows, and strong prevailing winds--are nature's work.
Florida's giant manatees are curiously gentle sea creatures -- whiskered, slow moving, and blubbery, with spatula-shaped tails, fingernailtipped flippers, and thick gray skin.
The dancing is superb and deliciously feline: Every whiskered facial twitch is fascinating.
Differentiate between crested and whiskered auklets, murres and murrelets, Laysan and black-footed albatrosses, horned and tufted puffins, many others.
Probably the most basic and maybe, the wisest approach is to follow the whiskered guideline of expecting the unexpected.
washes and whiskered detailing gaining in popularity.
Wahl, whose facial hair trimmers have helped shape and trim up many of baseball's whiskered winners over the years, engaged the sports statistical leader after watching Boston get stronger and stronger as their facial hair got longer and longer and eventually winning it all last October.
There were games of cricket played by two whiskered gents that threatened the windows of the theatre.
Up to 10 out of 18 UK species of bat - including longeared, Daubenton's, pipistrelle, whiskered and Brandt's species - have been recorded roosting or foraging around land cared for by the National Trust along Hadrian's Wall.
And then at the TV gong show last week, Ben Whishaw - who won best actor while Sheridan Smith was named best actress - was newly whiskered.
and the children you raked with the whiskered broom until they stopped
The Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) is a cosmopolitan species characterized by fluctuating numbers and scattered distribution (Cramp and Simmons 1997).