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2 definitions found
 for Cat''s cradle
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Cradle \Cra"dle\ (kr[=a]d'l), n. [AS. cradel, cradol, prob. from
     Celtic; cf. Gael. creathall, Ir. craidhal, W. cryd a shaking
     or rocking, a cradle; perh. akin to E. crate.]
     1. A bed or cot for a baby, oscillating on rockers or
        swinging on pivots; hence, the place of origin, or in
        which anything is nurtured or protected in the earlier
        period of existence; as, a cradle of crime; the cradle of
        [1913 Webster]
              The cradle that received thee at thy birth.
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              No sooner was I crept out of my cradle
              But I was made a king, at nine months old. --Shak.
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     2. Infancy, or very early life.
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              From their cradles bred together.     --Shak.
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              A form of worship in which they had been educated
              from their cradles. --Clarendon.
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     3. (Agric.) An implement consisting of a broad scythe for
        cutting grain, with a set of long fingers parallel to the
        scythe, designed to receive the grain, and to lay it
        evenly in a swath.
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     4. (Engraving) A tool used in mezzotint engraving, which, by
        a rocking motion, raises burrs on the surface of the
        plate, so preparing the ground.
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     5. A framework of timbers, or iron bars, moving upon ways or
        rollers, used to support, lift, or carry ships or other
        vessels, heavy guns, etc., as up an inclined plane, or
        across a strip of land, or in launching a ship.
        [1913 Webster]
     6. (Med.)
        (a) A case for a broken or dislocated limb.
        (b) A frame to keep the bedclothes from contact with the
            [1913 Webster]
     7. (Mining)
        (a) A machine on rockers, used in washing out auriferous
            earth; -- also called a rocker. [U.S.]
        (b) A suspended scaffold used in shafts.
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     8. (Carp.) The ribbing for vaulted ceilings and arches
        intended to be covered with plaster. --Knight.
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     9. (Naut.) The basket or apparatus in which, when a line has
        been made fast to a wrecked ship from the shore, the
        people are brought off from the wreck.
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     Cat's cradle. See under Cat.
     Cradle hole, a sunken place in a road, caused by thawing,
        or by travel over a soft spot.
     Cradle scythe, a broad scythe used in a cradle for cutting
        [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  cat \cat\ (k[a^]t), n. [AS. cat; akin to D. & Dan. kat, Sw.
     katt, Icel. k["o]ttr, G. katze, kater, Ir. cat, W. cath,
     Armor. kaz, LL. catus, Bisc. catua, NGr. ga`ta, ga`tos, Russ.
     & Pol. kot, Turk. kedi, Ar. qitt; of unknown origin. Cf.
     1. (Zool.) Any animal belonging to the natural family
        Felidae, and in particular to the various species of the
        genera Felis, Panthera, and Lynx. The domestic cat
        is Felis domestica. The European wild cat ({Felis
        catus) is much larger than the domestic cat. In the
        United States the name wild cat is commonly applied to
        the bay lynx ({Lynx rufus). The larger felines, such as
        the lion, tiger, leopard, and cougar, are often referred
        to as cats, and sometimes as big cats. See Wild cat, and
        Tiger cat.
        [1913 Webster +PJC]
     Note: The domestic cat includes many varieties named from
           their place of origin or from some peculiarity; as, the
           Angora cat; the Maltese cat; the Manx cat; the
           Siamese cat.
           [1913 Webster]
                 Laying aside their often rancorous debate over
                 how best to preserve the Florida panther, state
                 and federal wildlife officials,
                 environmentalists, and independent scientists
                 endorsed the proposal, and in 1995 the eight cats
                 [female Texas cougars] were brought from Texas
                 and released. . . .
                 Uprooted from the arid hills of West Texas, three
                 of the imports have died, but the remaining five
                 adapted to swamp life and have each given birth
                 to at least one litter of kittens. --Mark Derr
                                                    (N. Y. Times,
                                                    Nov. 2, 1999,
                                                    Science Times
                                                    p. F2).
     Note: The word cat is also used to designate other animals,
           from some fancied resemblance; as, civet cat, fisher
           cat, catbird, catfish shark, sea cat.
           [1913 Webster]
     2. (Naut.)
        (a) A strong vessel with a narrow stern, projecting
            quarters, and deep waist. It is employed in the coal
            and timber trade.
        (b) A strong tackle used to draw an anchor up to the
            cathead of a ship. --Totten.
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     3. A double tripod (for holding a plate, etc.), having six
        feet, of which three rest on the ground, in whatever
        position it is placed.
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     4. An old game; specifically:
        (a) The game of tipcat and the implement with which it is
            played. See Tipcat.
        (b) A game of ball, called, according to the number of
            batters, one old cat, two old cat, etc.
            [1913 Webster]
     5. same as cat o' nine tails; as, British sailors feared
        the cat.
        [1913 Webster + WordNet 1.5]
     6. A catamaran.
     Angora cat, blind cat, See under Angora, Blind.
     Black cat the fisher. See under Black.
     Cat and dog, like a cat and dog; quarrelsome; inharmonious.
        "I am sure we have lived a cat and dog life of it."
     Cat block (Naut.), a heavy iron-strapped block with a large
        hook, part of the tackle used in drawing an anchor up to
        the cathead.
     Cat hook (Naut.), a strong hook attached to a cat block.
     Cat nap, a very short sleep. [Colloq.]
     Cat o' nine tails, an instrument of punishment consisting
        of nine pieces of knotted line or cord fastened to a
        handle; -- formerly used to flog offenders on the bare
     Cat's cradle, game played, esp. by children, with a string
        looped on the fingers so, as to resemble small cradle. The
        string is transferred from the fingers of one to those of
        another, at each transfer with a change of form. See
        Cratch, Cratch cradle.
     To bell the cat, to perform a very dangerous or very
        difficult task; -- taken metaphorically from a fable about
        a mouse who proposes to put a bell on a cat, so as to be
        able to hear the cat coming.
     To let the cat out of the bag, to tell a secret, carelessly
        or willfully. [Colloq.]
     Bush cat, the serval. See Serval.
        [1913 Webster]

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