What does the idiom "fight like cat and dog" mean?

The expression fight like cat and dog is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the fight like cat and dog idiom.

Meaning of "fight like cat and dog"


The phrase ‘fight like cat and dog’ usually refers to two people, usually a couple, who argue frequently and heatedly. The saying implies a certain grudging respect between the couple, and is often used to express admiration for their relationship. This phrase can also be used to refer to two people in general who are constantly in disagreement or dispute with one another.


The phrase originated in the 1600s, believed to have been derived from two animals found in every English household – cats and dogs. Cats and dogs were often portrayed as arch rivals and this phrase is a reflection of that.

In the early days, it was believed that dogs represented the male and cats represented the female in an argument. In this way, the phrase ‘fighting like cats and dogs’ was an attempt to draw a comparison between a couple arguing and the two species squabbling over territory.


The phrase ‘fight like cat and dog’ can be used to describe any situation where two people are in constant conflict. This could be a professional rivalry, such as two rival companies in competition, or a personal animosity between two people.

Although the phrase is usually used to describe heated arguments between two people, it can also be used in a lighthearted way to talk about two people who are merely disagreeing.

It is also commonly used to describe relationships where two people are deeply in love and argue frequently. This is usually done in a fond, admiring way to express respect for the strength of their relationship.

Example Sentences

  • “John and Jane fight like cat and dog, but they’re still together after thirty years - that’s true love for you!”
  • “We’ve been fighting like cat and dog ever since we started our business seven years ago – but that’s what brings out the best in us.”
  • “My brother and sister-in-law fight like cat and dog, but they always make up afterwards.”
  • “They may fight like cat and dog, but they both know how

The meanings of the words in the "fight like cat and dog" idiom

From One Language to Another: Idioms in Translation

Translating idioms from one language to another can be a tricky task, as the cultural context behind an idiom can be difficult to capture. For example, the French phrase "avoir le cafard" translates to "to have the cockroach," which means to feel down or depressed. Similarly, the Chinese idiom "????" (j?ng d? zh? w?) translates to "frog at the bottom of a well," which refers to someone with a narrow view of the world.


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