cat’s breakfast
Posted: 22 March 2011 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]
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This is evidently, a rightpondian expression.  Just heard it today in reference to the coalition working in Lybia. Not quite NATO (the Germans and Turks are against it). Not quite EU, possibly pieces of the UN.

“It’s a cat’s breakfast”.

Any notions of origins?  I don’t see a cat’s breakfast as particularly messy. Maybe this piece of art dated to 1913 gets at the idea.

This Am. general (ret.) also used the expression “we have lots of things in the kit bag” which is also rightpondian, I think. Maybe he spent some time in the UK.

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Posted: 22 March 2011 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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In Australia I hear “dog’s breakfast”.

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Posted: 22 March 2011 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It’s not in the OED, but the New Partridge Dictionary of Slang records it as a UK variant of dog’s breakfast dating to 1984.

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Posted: 22 March 2011 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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We covered “dog’s breakfast” in this old thread. As I remarked at the time, it’s presumably from the practice of feeding dogs the mixed-together table scraps from the previous evening’s dinner.

Our cats would never put up with that, but I suppose there are some that would.

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Posted: 23 March 2011 02:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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“we have lots of things in the kit bag”

Kit bag is known and used in the US. But the usual phrase would be we have lots of things/tools in the tool box.

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Posted: 23 March 2011 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Our cats would never put up with that, but I suppose there are some that would.

We have two, of opposite sensibilities.  Pushkin would be thrilled, but Lyuba would turn up her nose.  Her position is that people eat people food and cats eat cat food.

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Posted: 23 March 2011 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The World War I marching song “Pack up Your Troubles” (in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile) is pretty widely known in the U.S. at least among people up to and including the baby boom generation.  We used to sing it in school assemblies into the early 1970’s.

And FWIW the two cats I am financially responsible for only eat certain types of designated cat food, but will eat anything they can get their claws on if it hops, flutters, slithers, or skitters.

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Posted: 23 March 2011 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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jtab4994 - 23 March 2011 08:21 AM

will eat anything they can get their claws on if it hops, flutters, slithers, or skitters.

And can be quite messy about it.

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Posted: 23 March 2011 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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languagehat - 23 March 2011 06:07 AM

Pushkin would be thrilled ........

What an absolutely wonderful name for a cat. Inspired!

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Posted: 23 March 2011 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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When I was a teenager, we had a cat (Merle, derived from “purr") who ate only best steak served in cubes on a saucer on the dining-table.  We didn’t think that was at all unusual, nor did she.  Milk was served alongside the steak in another saucer.

JFYI.

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Posted: 23 March 2011 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Oecolampadius Posted: 23 March 2011 02:54 AM
“It’s a cat’s breakfast”. Any notions of origins?
Could it be a journalese phrase coined from “dogs’ dinner”?

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Posted: 24 March 2011 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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aldiboronti - 23 March 2011 11:12 AM

languagehat - 23 March 2011 06:07 AM

Pushkin would be thrilled ........

What an absolutely wonderful name for a cat. Inspired!

I thought so, so I called my cat Pushkin, too, though I admit it’s more appropriate for lh’s cat.

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Posted: 24 March 2011 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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When people asked, I said “He’s young, gifted and black.” (He’s no longer young; I hope he doesn’t get into any duels.)

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