When the cat´s away the mice will play

Posted by ESC on November 19, 2002

In Reply to: When the cat´s away the mice will play posted by Michael Chapman on November 19, 2002

: Can anyone tell me the origen of the phrase "When the cat´s away the mice will play"

WHEN THE CAT IS AWAY, THE MICE WILL PLAY - "When someone in charge is away, subordinates will take advantage of it. The proverb is similar to the L*tin: Dum felis dormit, mus gaudet et exsi litantro ('When the cat falls asleep, the mouse rejoices and leaps from the hole') and to the early fourteenth century French: Ou chat na rat regne ('Where there is no cat, the rat is king'). The proverb has been traced back in English to about 1470, and was used by Shakespeare in 'Henry the Fifth,' in 1599. It is first attested in the United States in 'Port Folio' ." From the Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).