What does the idiom "have kittens" mean?

have kittens is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression have kittens is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "have kittens"


The idiom 'have kittens' is used to express surprise and shock. To have kittens means to become overcome with fear or extreme anxiety. It is sometimes used in a humorous way to exaggerate the severity of a situation.


The origin of this idiom is unknown. It is likely an extension of the phrase ‘scare the kittens’ which is sometimes used to describe being startled by something. ‘Have kittens’ is also thought to be a reference to the idea that cats often be alarmed by sudden or loud noises. There is also speculation that it originates from an old English expression, “Kittens in the Kitchen”, which suggests that something must be wrong in the house if kittens are present there.


In everyday usage, the idiom 'have kittens' is commonly used to describe an emotional response to a shocking, surprising or irritating situation. It can be used to express fear, worry or intense distress over a certain event or occurrence. It is often used in a humorous manner to exaggerate the severity of the situation.

Example Sentences

  • I almost had kittens when I saw how much money I had to pay for the new car.
  • My boss had kittens when I told him I was leaving the company.
  • I had kittens when I realized I had left my phone at home.

The meanings of the words in the "have kittens" 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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