the cat’s pajamas: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘the cat's pajamas’ mean?

The idiom "the cat's pajamas" is used to describe something or someone who is highly admired, stylish, or impressive. It conveys a sense of excellence or being top-notch.

Idiom Explorer

The Enigma Unveiled

The idiom "the cat's pajamas" is a phrase used to describe something or someone impressive and excellent. Its origin is uncertain, but it gained popularity in the 1920s in the United States. One theory suggests it may have come from the jazz age and the flapper culture. At that time, young women wore loose-fitting and extravagant clothing like pajamas, which were scandalous for sleepwear. The association of being "the cat's pajamas" came to describe someone fashionable and trendy.

Another theory connects the idiom to the elegance and grace associated with cats. Cats are sleek and sophisticated animals, admired for their behavior. Combining this imagery with the idea of pajamas, which represent relaxation and comfort, created the idiom to mean exceptionally remarkable.

Despite the lack of concrete evidence for these theories, the idiom has persisted in popular culture. It is often used informally to express admiration, excitement, or astonishment. It conveys a sense of uniqueness and excellence, emphasizing that the subject is truly outstanding and deserving of attention.

The cat looked impressively fashionable in its pajamas.

The idiom "the cat's pyjamas" is a synonym for "the cat's pajamas." Both phrases are used to describe something or someone highly impressive and excellent. The addition of "pyjamas" as an alternative spelling does not change the meaning or usage of the idiom.

The idiom "cat's meow" is another phrase with a similar meaning to "the cat's pajamas." It is used to describe something or someone highly impressive, excellent, or fashionable. The phrase emphasizes the exceptional qualities of the subject.

The idiom "that ever walked on two legs" adds an extra layer to the description of something impressive and excellent. By using this idiom, the speaker is emphasizing the subject's remarkable qualities to the extreme. It suggests that the subject surpasses any other comparable thing or person.

The idiom "the bee's knees" is another phrase used to describe something or someone highly impressive and excellent. Similar to "the cat's pajamas," it conveys admiration and excitement. The phrase visually represents something as being the best part of a bee, which emphasizes its extraordinary nature.

These idioms have their own unique origins and variations, but they all share the common theme of describing something or someone as highly impressive and excellent. They offer a colorful and expressive way to convey admiration and excitement, highlighting the exceptional qualities of the subject. Whether it's "the cat's pajamas," "the cat's pyjamas," "cat's meow," "that ever walked on two legs," or "the bee's knees," these idioms capture our imagination and allow us to celebrate the extraordinary.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "the cat's pajamas" can be used in a sentence:

  1. She thinks she's the cat's pajamas, but I don't see anything special about her.
  2. This new smartphone is the cat's pajamas with its advanced features and sleek design.
  3. When he won the championship, he felt like the cat's pajamas.

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