Definition of cat's-paw in US English:



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

    ‘he was merely a cat's paw of older and cleverer men’
    • ‘So profound now is his dominance that all competitors have willingly consigned themselves to being nothing more than cat's paws.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We now have many senators who are mere cat's paws for the special interests.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'll never be anybody's cat's paw again.’
    • ‘The KLA was in fact functioning as a cat's paw of the Western powers.’
    • ‘Throughout, they appear to have used Laos more or less as a complaisant cat's paw.’
    • ‘Each country thinks independence is the cat's paw of the other: a cosmetic cover for nefarious designs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In a flash, the professor became a source of regional antagonism, a cat's paw of conservatives and the subject of widespread condemnation.’
    • ‘He thinks that the man is a cat's paw from Claggart who is still after him.’
    • ‘It utilizes this gang of war lords as its cat's paw in Central Asia.’
    • ‘But don't let their geeky, kindly manner turn you into a cat's paw.’
    • ‘They're going to send their cat's paws, the Democrats, after those who serve Jesus.’
    • ‘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’.’
    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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