Play cat and mouse and play a game of cat and mouse are two versions of an idiom with an uncertain origin. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions that native speakers understand such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, eye to eye, barking up the wrong tree, hit the nail on the head, kick the bucket, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom play cat and mouse or play a game of cat and mouse, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.
To play cat and mouse or to play a game of cat and mouse describes a certain method of interaction between two adversaries. This type of interaction involves surreptitiously or secretly pursuing someone or trying to trap someone. One must be patient to play cat and mouse or play a game of cat and mouse as it involves stealth and incremental advancements. One may see this manner of stalking in the behavior of a cat pursuing a mouse. A cat will pester a mouse, waiting patiently outside its home, occasionally shoving its paw into the mouse’s home, grabbing its tail and letting it go, and generally teasing it until it finally pounces and kills it. Generally, when people play cat and mouse or play a game of cat and mouse, the victim knows he is being pursued, and the aggressor takes his time in pursuing, building tension and making sure that when he finally pounces, he will be victorious. Play cat and mouse and play a game of cat and mouse came into popular use in the 1800s.
As Bergstrom and West explain on WhichFaceisReal, the “phenomenal” algorithm used to create realistic fake faces was developed by software engineers at NVIDIA Corporation and uses what is called a General Adversarial Network, where two neural networks “play a game of cat and mouse,” each trying to create artificial images and the other trying to tell the difference. (University of Washington Today)
Under the 1km banner, Higuita managed to close the gap after a remarkable effort on the front of the chase group, as seven riders started to play cat and mouse into the finish. (Cycling Weekly)
Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, has shown its openness to embracing more ride-hailing services in its area after years of resistance in the form of stringent regulations and restrictions that forced passengers and drivers to play cat-and-mouse with the official taxis operating at the airport. (The Jakarta Post)