Cat’s Pajamas – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you ever thought that someone is the best but don’t want to sound too serious? Do you ever see a product and think that it’s unique and interesting but don’t know how else to describe it?

Well, the cat’s pajamas is a fun, lighthearted way to call something great while showing your love and admiration!

Despite its seemingly silly name, the cat’s pajamas is true praise.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The cat’s pajamas is a unique way to commend someone or something. In any context, whether it be describing a person, item, or idea, the cat’s pajamas stands for one thing: outstanding!

Using this phrase can mean that something is irreplaceable to you, has extraordinary qualities, or it can simply show that you view something in a positive light.

The cat’s pajamas is a great way to say that something is more than just good.

When speaking about a person, the cat’s pajamas is commonly used as a lighthearted term of endearment.

Though it’s not an extremely serious and loving terminology, it is nonetheless a great compliment.

When referring to an object or idea, it usually resonates with the superiority compared to similar items in its class.

For example, if I said that a car was the cat’s pajamas, I likely mean that I view it as one of the best vehicles in its class.

All in all, the phrase cat’s pajamas is a way to show an appreciation for something.

It goes beyond everyday terminology with its distinct nature, and it is likely to stand apart when using it in speech due to its less frequented use in language today. The cat’s pajamas is truly showing that something or someone is unique and outstanding.

Example Usage

“There are a lot of great pies out there, but rhubarb pie is really the cat’s pajamas”.

“I think that new preacher is the cat’s pajamas”.

“There is something to be said for a good cup of coffee, this barista is really the cat’s pajamas”.

“Being able to sleep in on a Friday is truly the cat’s pajamas of self-care”.

“Her new hairdo is so creative, that stylish has a touch that is just the cat’s pajamas”.

“I just got an unexpected letter from a secret admirer, isn’t that just the cat’s pajamas?”


Like many slang phrases that originated in 1920s America, this phrase seemingly doesn’t make too much sense. It is a part of the flapper style that produced many like phrases.

However, this phrase developed as women who were seen as stylish. Eventually, the term cat came to represent men and women, and phrases like “cool cat” and “the cat’s pajamas” came about.

Additionally, pajamas were then coming into style for women’s apparel. Eventually, these two words molded together and became synonymous with words like cool, unique, and great.

The earliest known use of the phrase came about in 1918, and soon thereafter came to be published as many things. Songs, dances, and even shows in the ‘20s were mentioning this new slang.

The term is not used as often in modern times as it was in the flappers era, but you can still find it used in conversation to correspondence between older adults.

Phrases Similar to Cat’s Pajamas

  • The bee’s knees
  • Fox’s socks
  • Best thing since sliced bread
  • All that and a bag of chips
  • Hot stuff
  • Doozie
  • Cat’s meow
  • Cat’s whiskers

Phrases opposite to Cat’s Pajamas

  • Holy terror
  • Bad news
  • Sour puss
  • Bad apple

What is The Correct Saying?

  • Cat’s pajamas/pyjamas

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Cat’s Pajamas

  • Cat’s clothes
  • Cat scratch

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Cat’s Pajamas

  • My new boyfriend is the cat’s pajamas.
  • I love getting gifts on holidays, especially expensive ones. It really is the cat’s pajamas.
  • He proposed to me on Valentine’s Day, isn’t that just the cat’s pajamas!

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