play cat and mouse(redirected from play a game of cat and mouse)
play cat and mouse
1. To engage in a suspenseful relationship in which one is being pursued and one is the pursuer. The marshals and the fugitive have been playing cat and mouse for months now, but they may finally have him cornered.
2. To play with or tease someone before turning violent or vicious, likened to the way a cat toys with a mouse before killing it. If we have any hopes of getting the prisoner to crack, we need to play cat and mouse now, in the early stages of the interrogation.
3. To play a game in which children stand in a circle and raise their arms to let one player into the middle and then lower their arms to keep out a second player, who is chasing the first. Let's play cat and mouse! I'll go first—everybody else, circle up!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
play cat and mouse with someone
Fig. to be coy and evasive with someone. I know what you are up to. Don't play cat and mouse with me! I wish that they wouldn't play cat and mouse with me!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
play cat and mouse
Amuse oneself or trifle with, toy with, as in She loved to play cat and mouse with an admirer, acting by turns friendly, indifferent, and jealous . The analogy of a cat toying with a helpless mouse was drawn centuries earlier, but the precise term dates only from the early 1900s.
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.
play cat and mouseor
play a game of cat and mouse
COMMON In a contest or dispute, if one person or side plays cat and mouse or plays a game of cat and mouse with another, the first person or side tries to confuse or deceive the second in order to defeat them. He would play cat and mouse with other riders, sometimes waiting until the fourth lap to come from behind and win. A diplomatic game of cat and mouse is being played between the United Nations and the warring factions in the region. Note: You can also talk about a cat and mouse game or a cat and mouse chase or use other nouns in this way. Amos played a cat and mouse game with officers for several hours. They were arrested after a cat-and-mouse chase through the fields. Note: The reference here is to a cat playing with a mouse before killing it.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
play cat and mouse withmanoeuvre in a way designed alternately to provoke and thwart an opponent.
The image here is of the way that a cat toys with a mouse, pretending to release it and then pouncing on it again.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
cat and mouse, game of/to play
Toying with a helpless opponent or victim. The cat, ready to pounce, was recorded by Jonathan Swift (“She watches him as a cat would watch a mouse”). The cat-mouse analogy most often has been applied to authorities who may do as they wish with those in their power.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer