Hello my friends, Spot here!
Well… Friday the 13th passed without incident, so here I am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to bring you the next chapter in our exploration of kitty phrases! Here’s the pic!
I think I look quite happy in this pic, I must have been dreaming of my favourite chicken treats, or getting my revenge on Lula 😆 But it does give you a clue to today’s phrase which is: grinning like a Cheshire cat! I like this one especially as we live in the county of Shropshire in the UK which is very close to the county of Cheshire 🙂
Of course, the meaning is quite obvious – it’s used when someone is grinning very broadly!
You’re probably aware that Lewis Carroll used the phrase in his famous book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which was first published in 1865:
‘Please would you tell me,’ said Alice, a little timidly, for she was not quite sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first, ‘why your cat grins like that?’
‘It’s a Cheshire cat,’ said the Duchess, ‘and that’s why. Pig!’
She said the last word with such sudden violence that Alice quite jumped; but she saw in another moment that it was addressed to the baby, and not to her, so she took courage, and went on again:
‘I didn’t know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact, I didn’t know that cats COULD grin.’
‘They all can,’ said the Duchess; ‘and most of ’em do.’
It’s not true that Mr. Carroll was the person who first used this phrase though – there’s evidence people used it before he did!
John Wolcot included it in his Works, published between 1770 and 1819
“Lo! like a Cheshire cat our court will grin”.
William Makepeace Thackeray also used the description in The Newcomes; memoirs of a most respectable family, 1854–55:
Mr. Newcome says to Mr. Pendennis in his droll, humorous way, “That woman grins like a Cheshire cat.”
And… just a final fact to finish with, not kitty-related but still relevant to what we’ve talked about… Did you know that Lewis Carroll’s real name was the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson? He changed his name because he thought that those people reading his mathematics books would find it odd to find the same author having written fictional books. He decided to change his name into a pen name, as this would make a difference in his various styles of books!
I hope you enjoyed all our little facts!
Take care my friends!
Love from Spot