What does the idiom "put the cat among the pigeons" mean?

The phrase put the cat among the pigeons is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of put the cat among the pigeons.

Meaning of "put the cat among the pigeons"

Meaning

The idiom “put the cat among the pigeons” is used to describe a situation in which a change or disturbance has been introduced, which has created a state of confusion, chaos and alarm. It is generally used in a situation where one person has caused disruption, leading to a chaotic reaction in others.

Etymology

The phrase “put the cat among the pigeons” is of unknown origin. The earliest recorded use of the phrase dates back to 1855, where it appears in Thomas Carlyle’s ‘History of the French Revolution’. It is thought that the phrase originated from the sport of ‘shooting at live pigeons’, which was popular in the early 19th century, in which a cat would be used to ‘startle’ the pigeons and cause them to fly up into the air, ready to be shot. The phrase has since evolved to mean ‘to cause trouble, to stir up trouble’, as the cat would ‘stir up’ the pigeons.

Usage

The phrase “put the cat among the pigeons” is a generally used in informal situations and is typically used when talking about an unexpected event or situation that has caused chaos and confusion. For example, a manager may use the phrase when introducing a new policy, which has caused confusion and disruption amongst their employees. It may also be used in a more general sense, such as when describing a political issue that has caused a chaotic reaction or response.

Example Sentences

  • The announcement of a pay cut for the whole staff put the cat among the pigeons.
  • The introduction of the new tax system has really put the cat among the pigeons.
  • The announcement of the merger between the two companies put the cat among the pigeons.

The meanings of the words in the "put the cat among the pigeons" idiom

Idioms with similar meaning

"Don't judge a book by its cover" is an English idiom that means you shouldn't make assumptions about someone or something based solely on its appearance. In Japanese, the similar idiom is "Hana yori dango," which translates to "Dumplings rather than flowers." This idiom means that substance is more important than appearance.

NO COMMENT

No comment has been written about put the cat among the pigeons yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply