Last modified on 22 March 2015, at 12:02

Cheshire cat


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The Cheshire cat in the 1866 publication of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


The term is attested since at least the 1790s.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtʃɛʃə ˈkæt/

Proper nounEdit

Cheshire Cat

  1. A fictional grinning cat, made popular by Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
    • 1865 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
      “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.“
    • 1967, Barbara Sleigh, Jessamy, edition 1993, Sevenoaks, Kent: Bloomsbury, ISBN 0 340 19547 9, page 127:
      ‘It’s almost as if we’ve gone silly with happiness,’ said Marcus two days later. ‘Everyone in the house going round grinning like a lot of Cheshire Cats! The family I mean.’ ‘And Jess,’ said Kitto quickly. ‘Oh well, Jess is as good as family,’ said Fanny comfortably. Jessamy said nothing, but she looked up quickly and her smile would have rivalled any Cheshire Cat.


Derived termsEdit