Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A cat, especially an old female cat.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A cat, especially an old cat: often used as a proper name, with or without a capital letter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An old cat, especially a she-cat.
  • noun A bad-tempered old woman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A cat, especially an elderly female.
  • noun archaic An old, bad-tempered woman; a crone.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Variant of graymalkin : gray + obsolete malkin, lower-class woman; see merkin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From grey + malkin; "grey-haired cat" or "grey-haired woman"

Examples

  • A grimalkin, that is to say, a Cat, went out one night to a certain garden, in search of what she might devour, but found nothing and became weak for the excess of cold and rain that prevailed that night.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • A grimalkin, that is to say, a Cat, went out one night to a certain garden, in search of what she might devour, but found nothing and became weak for the excess of cold and rain that prevailed that night.

    Arabian nights. English

  • A related word is grimalkin, referring to an old female cat or an ill-tempered old woman.

    Is That Legal?: My Bad.

  • To let the peculiar grimalkin-grimace come on her face, the most weird grimalkin-twang come into her voice?

    The Plumed Serpent

  • And they remained these grey-ribbed grimalkins, dressed in elegant clothes, the grimalkin howl even passing into their smart chatter.

    The Plumed Serpent

  • Of all the horrors, perhaps the grimalkin women, her contemporaries, were the most repellent to her.

    The Plumed Serpent

  • In the dead of the night there was a fearful caterwauling; some grimalkin was uncivil to her; then there was a scramble, then a clapper-clawing; then both parties rolled off the roof and tumbled from a great height among the trees on the hill side.

    The Alhambra

  • In the dead of the night there was a fearful caterwauling; some grimalkin was uncivil to her; then there was a scramble, then a clapper-clawing; then both parties rolled off the roof and tumbled from a great height among the trees on the hill side.

    The Alhambra

  • Pinch its scut or bite its ears, and when it exclaims, "Miauw!" it is not a genuine rabbit, but a grimalkin in disguise.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 102, May 21, 1892

  • Moreover, he had hundreds of mice to his credit and no birds, for he was a good and wise grimalkin.

    The Faery Tales of Weir

Comments

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  • 1. A cat, especially an old female cat. 2. An old woman considered to be ill-tempered.

    ETYMOLOGY: Variant of graymalkin : gray1 + obsolete malkin, lower-class woman; see merkin.

    May 18, 2007

  • Never heard this word used.

    January 10, 2016