Thursday, May 14, 2009

Love your Cat!

Where did the phrase “cat got your tongue” come from? Apparently, there are number of theories about its origins. According to one theory, it derives from a practice in the Middle East where liars had their tongues ripped out and fed to the king’s cat as punishment. Another theory is that it came from the Middle Ages. If you a saw a witch, her cat (witches always seem to have black cats, don’t they?) would control your tongue in such a way that you would be unable to report that you’d seen her. Yet another theory comes from English maritime and the cat-o’-nine-tails (which is a whip with nine knotted cords). If an officer had been privy to something secret, but he told people things he wasn’t meant to, he would “get the cat”. When others wanted to know these secrets, they said ask if the “cat got your tongue” i.e. “are you not telling us because you’re afraid of the cat?”