Not Enough Room to Swing a Cat (Origin)

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Not Enough Room to Swing a Cat"?

This saying derives from the 16th Century, when sailors were punished by being whipped with a cat o' nine tails. Below deck, there was no room to yield the whip, so the punishment was administered on deck, which afforded sufficient room to swing the cat.

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Not Enough Room to Swing a Cat (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • You can't live here. There's not enough room to swing a cat.
  • There's not enough room to swing a cat in some flats in Central London.
  • I'd rather live in this old house than in one of those poky, new bungalows where there's no room to swing a cat.

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.