from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A person used by another as a dupe or tool.
- n. A light breeze that ruffles small areas of a water surface.
- n. Nautical A knot made by twisting a section of rope to form two adjacent eyes through which a hook is passed, used in hoisting.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A pawn or dupe; somebody who has been unwittingly tricked into acting in another's interest.
- n. A knot of a certain kind resembling a lark’s-foot hitch; see cat's paw for more detailed information.
- n. A breeze that ruffles patches of a water surface.
- n. A small crowbar.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A light transitory air which ruffles the surface of the water during a calm, or the ripples made by such a puff of air.
- n. A particular hitch or turn in the bight of a rope, into which a tackle may be hooked.
- n. A dupe; a tool; one who, or that which, is used by another as an instrument to a accomplish his purposes.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Naut:
- n. A light air perceived in a calm by a slight rippling of the surface of the water.
- n. A peculiar twist or hitch in the bight of a rope, made to hook a tackle on.
- n. One whom another makes use of to accomplish his designs; a person used by another to serve his purposes and to bear the consequences of his acts; a dupe: as, to make a person one's cat's-paw.
- n. In botany, same as cat's-foot.
- n. In bookbinding, the mark made on the covers or edges of a book by a sponge containing color or staining fluid.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a person used by another to gain an end
- n. a hitch in the middle of rope that has two eyes into which tackle can be hooked
From a fable about a monkey that used a cat's paw to pull chestnuts out of a fire.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Meaning 1: From a fable, perhaps of Aesop's, in which a crafty monkey uses flattery to convince a cat to pull hot chestnuts from a fire. The cat singes his paw, and the monkey gobbles up the chestnuts leaving none for the cat. Meaning 2: Probably due to resemblance in terms of shape. (Wiktionary)