Definition of cat's-paw in US English:



  • A person who is used by another to carry out an unpleasant or dangerous task.

    • ‘So there's no point waiting to call him what he is: an enemy of progressive change in this country and a cat's paw of the Republican party.’
    • ‘We now have many senators who are mere cat's paws for the special interests.’
    • ‘The KLA was in fact functioning as a cat's paw of the Western powers.’
    • ‘They're going to send their cat's paws, the Democrats, after those who serve Jesus.’
    • ‘But don't let their geeky, kindly manner turn you into a cat's paw.’
    • ‘With all the other parties, save the cat's paw Liberal Democrats, ganging up to denounce the First Minister, she produced a typically feisty performance that routed his opponents.’
    • ‘Apparently these protesters wanted to make the point that their political context and demands were completely local and that they could not be dismissed as cat's paws of Iran.’
    • ‘Each country thinks independence is the cat's paw of the other: a cosmetic cover for nefarious designs.’
    • ‘In a flash, the professor became a source of regional antagonism, a cat's paw of conservatives and the subject of widespread condemnation.’
    • ‘Throughout, they appear to have used Laos more or less as a complaisant cat's paw.’
    • ‘So profound now is his dominance that all competitors have willingly consigned themselves to being nothing more than cat's paws.’
    • ‘The entire spectacle is a politically salutary lesson in the hypocrisy and brutality of imperialism, and the role of the United Nations as the cat's paw of great power politics.’
    • ‘According to the Spanish proposal, ‘violent urban youthful radicalism is increasingly being used as a cat's paw by terrorist groups in order to achieve their criminal aims’.’
    • ‘It utilizes this gang of war lords as its cat's paw in Central Asia.’
    • ‘I'll never be anybody's cat's paw again.’
    • ‘He thinks that the man is a cat's paw from Claggart who is still after him.’
    sycophant, toady, lackey, flunkey, minion, stooge, kowtower, truckler, groveller, crawler, creep, fawner, flatterer, lickspittle, uriah heep, puppet, cat's paw, instrument, pawn, underling, hanger-on, camp follower, doormat, spaniel
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