not enough room to swing a cat

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not enough room to swing a cat

Very little or no space; very cramped quarters or proximity. Many families are forced to live in tiny apartments with not enough room to swing a cat. They overbooked the conference, and by the time we were all in the room there wasn't enough room to swing a cat.
See also: cat, enough, not, room, swing

not enough room to swing a cat

Rur. not very much space. Their living room was very small. There wasn't enough room to swing a cat. How can you work in a small room like this? There's not enough room to swing a cat.
See also: cat, enough, not, room, swing

not enough room to swing a cat

Very little space, cramped quarters, as in There's not enough room to swing a cat in this tent. This expression, first recorded in 1771, is thought to allude to the cat-o'-nine-tails, or "cat," a whip with nine lashes widely used to punish offenders in the British military.
See also: cat, enough, not, room, swing

not enough room to swing a cat

tv. very crowded or cramped; [of a room] small, It’s really crowded in here. Not enough room to swing a cat.
See also: cat, enough, not, room, swing

not enough room to swing a cat

Extremely cramped quarters. The origin of this expression is disputed. Many believe it alludes to swinging a cat-o’- nine-tails, a whip with nine lashes fastened to a handle, which was long used to punish offenders in the British military (it was formally abolished only in 1948). Others believe it refers to the Scots word cat for scoundrel, and thus to a criminal swinging from the gallows. Still others say it comes from the practice of swinging a live cat by its tail to serve as target practice for archers. Whatever the origin, the term was used by Smollett, Dickens, Twain, and numerous other writers.
See also: cat, enough, not, room, swing
References in periodicals archive ?
The stage at Off Broadway's Ars Nova is so long and narrow, there's hardly room to swing a cat.
Accordingly it was carried out on deck as below there was not enough room to swing a cat.
We practiced in our drummer Billy Gough's garage, full of canoes and mooses' heads; there wasn't enough room to swing a cat, and a name was born.
The book Not Enough Room To Swing A Cat, by Martin Robson, discovers the origins of such phrases and offers surprising explanations.
So the only place a cat could be swung with the force required for the punishment was on deck, as below decks there was, literally, not enough room to swing a cat.
Being one of five children and a triplet, there wasn't room to swing a cat.