English Idiom – (Has the) Cat got your tongue?

Meaning –  This expression is said to someone who has nothing to say. If you are annoyed with someone because they are not speaking you might ask them “Has the cat got your tongue?

This idiom can be said to someone who is refusing to answer a question or someone who has no response to an accusation of some sort. This idiomatic expression is commonly said to children by adults (parents or teachers).

The words in this idiom – Has the cat got your tongue? – give the listener an image of a cat running away with somebody’s tongue. In a situation like this it would be very difficult to say something!

The Internet generation has cleverly adapted this idiom. If someone does not reply to a text message or typed  chat message you can ask them Has the cat got your thumbs?

What’s the matter? is another way to ask What’s the problem?

More Idioms With Tongues:

  • Bite your tongueTo stop yourself from saying something that might be rude or hurtful.
  • Forked tongue – This idiom suggests that someone is insincere or dishonest in their speech. It’s often used to describe a person who says one thing but means another.
  • Loose tongue – Refers to a person who talks too much or divulges secrets or sensitive information without restraint.
  • On the tip of your tongue – When something is “on the tip of your tongue,” it means you know the word or information but can’t quite recall it at the moment. It’s a common expression when you’re struggling to remember something.
  • Silver tongue – Someone with a “silver tongue” has a smooth and persuasive way of speaking. It’s often used to compliment someone’s ability to convince or charm others with their words.
  • Slip of the tongue – This refers to an unintentional or accidental mistake in speech, such as saying something you didn’t mean to say.


  • “Did you eat all of the cookies?”
  • “…..”
  • “What’s the matter? Has the cat got your tongue?

In The News:

What’s the matter, Mike Durant? Cat got your tongue?


What is an idiom?

An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally.  An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.

What is FunkyEnglish?

FunkyEnglish is a website that helps you improve your English. We offer quick lessons that teach idiomsslangphrasal verbs and more. Visit our homepage to see our latest articles, or use the menu to find specific content!