game of cat and mouse

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game of cat and mouse

1. A phrase used to describe the suspenseful relationship between one being pursued and the pursuer. We've been hiding out here for days, and I can't handle this game of cat and mouse any longer—I'm calling the police! The detective has entered into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the suspected killer.
2. A phrase that describes how one plays with or teases someone before turning violent or vicious, likened to the way in which a cat toys with a mouse before killing it. If we have any hopes of getting the prisoner to crack, we need to play a game of cat and mouse now, in the early stages of the interrogation.
3. A game in which children stand in a circle and raise their arms to let one player into the middle. Then, they lower their arms to keep out a second player, who is chasing the first. Let's play a game of cat and mouse! I'll go first—everybody else, circle up!
See also: and, cat, game, mouse, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: and, cat, game, of, play, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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