Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Origins of Common Expressions, No. 26: Cat Got Your Tongue?

Meaning: Something said when a person is at a loss for words

History: There are two possible sources for this common short saying. The first refers to the cat-o’-nine-tails, a whip used by the English Navy for flogging. The whip caused so much pain that the victims were left speechless. The second refers to the practice of cutting out the tongues of liars and blasphemers and feeding them to cats.

Flogging Whip

Sailor Being Flogged

Modern Flogging

Modern Flogging

Cutting Out A Man's Tongue

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