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"She" is the cat's mother

Posted by R. Berg on November 15, 2002

In Reply to: She's the Cat's Mother posted by Barry on November 15, 2002

: G'day
: I was hoping you could help me. I was wondering where the expression "She's the Cat's Mother" came from. You know when someone says..... "Oh she is over there" and then they say it's not SHE, she's the cat's mother.

From Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British":

'she' is a (or 'the') cat's mother. One of the two or three best-known of the domestic catchphrases, this has, mid (?early) C19-20, been addressed, usually by a parent, to a child, whether very young or teenaged, referring thus to his or her mother. By 1960, slightly ob.
There is a variant.: 'who is "she"? the cat's grandmother?': late C19-mid C20.

We don't have this saying in the US as far as I know. From what Partridge says, I gather that it's used to reprimand children for calling their mothers "she" instead of something more proper.