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to be the cat’s whiskers

to be better than everyone else


to be the cat’s whiskers = das Größte, das Beste, sich für etwas Besonderes halten



“Why John Lewis has proved it really is THE CAT'S WHISKERS. When my son lost his favourite toy that was seven years old, they had a one-off sample specially made.”

Rebecca Smithers – The Guardian (Consumer champions)

Did you

to be the cat’s whiskers
noun phrase (informal)

- to be better than everyone else

- a highly admired or exceptionally excellent person or thing

The Cambridge Dictionary / Merriam-Webster


“The cat’s whiskers” is one of those nonsense catchphrases that were popular in America in the 1920s, many of which compared something of excellent quality to some part of an animal.

Other examples are “the bee’s knees”, “the bullfrog’s beard”, and “the monkey’s eyebrows”.

Although considered old-fashioned, you’ll still hear these phrases from time to time, and they're good fun to use with native speakers.


- The cat’s pyjamas = something that is great

- Look at what the cat dragged in = an insulting way of saying that someone has just arrived and looks like a mess

- Like a cat on a hot tin roof = to be nervous and unable to keep still

- Cat got your tongue? = something you say when you are annoyed with someone who won’t talk

- A grin like a Cheshire cat = a very wide smile

- Curiosity killed the cat = something you say when someone asks you too many questions

- There’s more than one way to skin a cat = there’s more than one way to achieve something

- Let the cat out of the bag = to tell people secret information, sometimes without intending to

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“He used to be very modest, but ever since his promotion, he thinks he’s THE CAT’S WHISKERS.”

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:


Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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