Like a cat on hot bricks

Also, like a cat on a hot tin roof. Restless or skittish, unable to remain still, as in Nervous about the lecture he had to give, David was like a cat on hot bricks. The first expression replaced a still earlier one, like a cat on a hot bake-stone, which appeared in John Ray’s Proverbs (1678). The second was popularized as the title of Tennessee Williams’s play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955).


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  • Like a champ

    Very well, very successfully, as in He got through that audition like a champ. This expression, in which champ is short for champion, alludes to the winner of a sporting competition. [ ; c. 1960 ]

  • Like a chicken with its head cut off

    In a frenzied manner, distractedly, crazily. For example, She ran around the station looking for her lost bag like a chicken with its head cut off. This graphic simile alludes to the fact that the body of a chicken whose head has been cut off sometimes totters about crazily before succumbing.

  • Like a dream

    modifier Easily, smoothly: drove like a dream (1949+)

  • Like a drowned rat

    Also, wet as a drowned rat. Soaking wet and utterly bedraggled, as in When she came in out of the rain she looked like a drowned rat. This simile appeared in Latin nearly 2,000 years ago, and in English about the year 1500.

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