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A disparaging term for a rich and powerful person. The voters were tired of all the fat cats running for political office. They wanted someone who understood the plight of the middle class.
1. noun Someone who is very wealthy and successful. That guy is a really fat-cat in Hollywood, so we definitely have to impress him if we want to get our movie made.
2. adjective Describing such a person or the condition of being wealthy and successful. That's a fat-cat kind of house—something we middle-class people can only dream about.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Fig. someone who is ostentatiously and smugly wealthy. I like to watch the fat cats go by in their BMWs. I'm no fat cat. I can't even pay my normal bills!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
A wealthy and privileged person, as in This neighborhood, with its million-dollar estates, is full of fat cats. This term originally meant "a rich contributor to a political campaign," and while this usage persists, it now is often applied more broadly, as in the example. [Colloquial; 1920s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
a fat cat
COMMON You call a businessperson or politician a fat cat when you disapprove of the way they use their wealth and power because it seems unfair or wrong to you. These fat cats of commerce make huge profits out of the public. Yet again privatisation benefits City fat cats at the expense of the customer. Note: You can also use fat cat before a noun. The taxpayer will be left to pay while the fat cat businessmen get the cream of Britain's rail services. He promised to end fat-cat salaries for union bosses and increase worker wages.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
a ˈfat cat(informal, disapproving) a person who earns, or has, a lot of money (especially when compared to people who do not earn much): The company director is described as a fat cat, who enjoys his luxury lifestyle but doesn’t care about his employees.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
A wealthy individual. This rhyming term, originating in America about 1920, once had a more specific meaning, that is, a rich individual who made large contributions to a political party or campaign. Later it was extended to any wealthy person, as well as an individual who has become lazy or smug as the result of material assets. Thus, an article in the Saturday Review of Literature in 1949, “Hollywood celebrities, literary fat cats.” In a still more generalized sense, the New York Times headlined a column about the financial situation and the administration’s reaction to it “In the New Populism Add the Government to the List of ‘Fat Cats’” (June 17, 2010). See also deep pockets.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer