One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A plant of the mint family, with downy leaves, purple-spotted white flowers, and a pungent smell attractive to cats.
Genus Nepeta, family Labiatae: several speciesAlso called catmint
- ‘At the first sign of a cold, I make a tea blend of equal parts of yarrow flowers, elder flowers, linden flowers, catnip and peppermint leaves.’
- ‘The only trouble I've had so far is keeping my pair of cats out of the catnip!’
- ‘Unless it's the drug-like catnips and valerians, most cats ignore growing things.’
- ‘Interplant with horseradish, dead nettle, catnip, coriander, nasturtiums, and tansy.’
- ‘Chewing insects can spread the disease from weeds as they feed, so be sure to remove all nearby pokeweed, nightshade, catnip, horsenettle and motherwort.’
- 1.1 Someone or something that is very attractive or appealing to a particular person or group.‘both men are aggressive self-promoters and catnip for the media’‘biotech stocks have become catnip to investors this year’
- ‘Downton's heady blend of fab frocks and troubled relationships is catnip for women of all ages and backgrounds.’
- ‘He's catnip to women but never flaunts it.’
- ‘This kind of stuff is catnip to the mainstream press, which otherwise doesn't know much or care much about Bitcoin.’
- ‘Pitting two actresses against one another is catnip for fans of both, you know that.’
- ‘Now, two behind-the-scenes videos have been released, and they're guaranteed to be catnip to puppy fans!’
- ‘The technical legal term for that kind of evidence is "juror catnip."’
- ‘His penchant for detail and symbolism are catnip to obsessive fans who read between every line, scrutinize every frame and pick apart the show's cryptic teasers.’
- ‘There's a ton of history here that will be catnip to Baby Boomer music fans.’
- ‘Civil War reenactments are catnip for photographers.’
- ‘They're a family whose internal squabbles have been tabloid catnip for decades.’
Late 18th century (originally US): from cat + nip, variant of dialect nep, nept, from medieval Latin nepta, from Latin nepeta ‘catmint’.
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