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The idiom “Has the cat got your tongue?” is a rhetorical question used to ask someone why they are being unusually quiet or not speaking when they are expected to. The origins of the phrase are uncertain, but it is thought to have originated in the United States in the early 20th century.
The idiom implies that the person being addressed is unable to speak or is choosing not to speak for some reason. It can be used in a variety of situations, from social gatherings to professional meetings, to ask why someone is not contributing to the conversation.
- “You’re awfully quiet tonight. Has the cat got your tongue?” asked Jane at the dinner party.
- “We’re waiting for your response, John. Has the cat got your tongue?” said the boss in the meeting.
- “I was so surprised when she asked me to marry her that I couldn’t say anything. It was like the cat had got my tongue,” said Tom to his friend.
In conclusion, “Has the cat got your tongue?” is a popular idiomatic expression used to inquire about someone’s unusual silence or lack of response in a conversation. It is a useful phrase to break the ice or bring someone out of their shell.