Definition of catnip in English:



  • 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 species

    Also 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. 1.1 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’.