Not Enough Room to Swing a Cat (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

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.
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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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

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