cat's paw


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cat's-paw

A person who is used by another to achieve some end, especially in a duplicitous or cynical manner. Taken from a fable about a monkey who uses a cat's paw to retrieve chestnuts from a fire. I thought that Jake really loved me, but in the end, I was just a cat's-paw so he could stir up jealousy in his ex-boyfriend.

cat's paw

A dupe or tool for another, a sucker, as in You always try to make a cat's paw of me, but I refuse to do any more of your work. This term alludes to a very old tale about a monkey that persuades a cat to pull chestnuts out of the fire so as to avoid burning its own paws. The story dates from the 16th century and versions of it (some with a dog) exist in many languages.
See also: paw

cat's paw, (be made) a

A dupe, a sucker who does another person’s dirty work. The term comes from an ancient tale about a monkey who wanted to get some roasted chestnuts out of the fire and, not wanting to burn his own fingers, got his friend the cat to use his paws for this purpose. There are numerous versions of the story in various languages; often it is a dog that is made the dupe, but in English it is the cat’s paw that has stuck over the years. Also see pull the chestnuts.
References in periodicals archive ?
In an ironic twist of fate, the drought the following year caused low-flow conditions in Killbuck Creek, which provided excellent survey conditions for biologists who found 25 healthy purple cat's paw mussels, including 10 females.
Bray said that individual liability for a supervisor or manager who set in motion the retaliatory decision to terminate is a logical extension of the courts' recognition of the cat's paw theory in Section 1981 employment cases.
political scene will still support Israel regardless of its behavior, since they want to see Hamas punished, Palestine carved up and impotent, and Iran batted about by our cat's paw ally.
He's also done forum theatre work with Cat's Paw, and last year was the Storyteller at Stafford Gatehouse.
Sam is a has-been screenwriter whose quirky TV series, "Cat's Paw Print," scored with critics but was canceled after its first season, while pal David thrives as a successful pop-culture magazine editor.
once called the agency the cat's paw of the United States, that just ran Western interests completely.
Yager said redwood burl yields all kinds of figures from a simple curl similar to curly maple, to a bee's wing and a cat's paw, and a blister.
And the BBC, the liberal elite of the BBC, are using the Poles as a cat's paw, in a politically correct world, to talk about immigration.
The Japanese cat's paw has three intended uses: It pulls nails, works as a pry bar (the thin blade will get under just about anything) and acts like a small hammer to whack things.
"The Chinese have been calling the Dalai Lama several names, such as Devil, a wolf in monk's robes, cat's paw and beast.
Set in a world where magic is officially denied, even while it is consistently rumored to exist, "Cat's Paw" is an entertaining and compellingly written novel that deftly combines mystery with fantasy.
It seeks to go beyond explanations that examine Cuba in isolation or portray merely as a cat's paw of the Soviet Union in order to provide a multidimensional explanation of Cuba's involvement in Angola's civil war.
...And another cat's paw, and another cat's tail...
Vets are fighting to save a cat's paw after it was almost severed by an illegal gin trap in Northumberland.