Idiom: Has the Cat Got Your Tongue?


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.

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Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Camford Publishing
Founder of On the Horizon (camford publishing)and The Technology Source, and professor of education at North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dr. Morrison is author and co-author of over 200 publications focusing on educational planning and using information technology tools.Dr. Morrison has delivered numerous conference presentations and workshops for associations such as EDUCAUSE, AAHE, the College Board and others.He has served as a planning consultant to a number of colleges, universities, university systems, community colleges, educational agencies and public agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor, and Department of the Army.His consulting activities focus on assisting organizations to integrate information technology tools in teaching and management.

The title of his Speech is “The Future of Distance Learning.” Professor Morrison will describe the driving forces that will affect education and distance learning in this decade and will focus on the implications of these forces for education and distance learning
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