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Also called cat and rat. a children’s game in which players in a circle keep a player from moving into or out of the circle and permit a second player to move into or out of the circle to escape the pursuing first player.
Western U.S. tick-tack-toe (def 1).
play cat and mouse, to engage in a gamelike relationship in which evasion and pursuit are used:
They played cat and mouse for a while before she consented to go out with him.
play cat and mouse with,

to toy or trifle with.
to use strategy on one’s opponent, especially while waiting to strike:
The detective played cat and mouse with the suspect.

Contemporary Examples

The revelations in October began a game of cat-and-mouse between the Demon Killer and the police.
‘I Will Commit a Massacre’ Jake Adelstein, Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky February 24, 2013

He became suspicious and so began what he refers to as a “cat-and-mouse game” between him and his former agency.
How Models Get Robbed on the Runway Jennifer Sky May 6, 2014

Meanwhile, I don’t know what happens to the employees, who are the mouse in this cat-and-mouse game.
Counting Full Time Employees Megan McArdle January 17, 2013

Their cat-and-mouse game will definitely continue to be a central point.
‘Homeland,’ ‘Revenge,’ ‘The Good Wife,’ ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and More: Where We Left Off Jace Lacob, Maria Elena Fernandez September 9, 2012

So Western governments are caught in a cat-and-mouse game and at times it is unclear who is the cat and who the mouse.
ISIS Has a Message. Do We? Jamie Dettmer December 7, 2014

Historical Examples

Did it mean that, after all, he had been playing at cat-and-mouse with her, as she had at first feared?
The White Moll Frank L. Packard

Evidently, he must play the cat-and-mouse act about the piles of supplies and machinery.
Panther Eye Roy J. Snell

She had been playing with him––playing with him cat-and-mouse fashion.
Once to Every Man Larry Evans

At least, I haven’t got that cat-and-mouse kind of patience.
Regiment of Women Clemence Dane

It was like playing a game of cat-and-mouse with him, Wilson Lamb, the cat.
Hooded Detective, Volume III No. 2, January, 1942 Various


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  • Catatonia

    a syndrome seen most frequently in schizophrenia, characterized by muscular rigidity and mental stupor, sometimes alternating with great excitement and confusion. Historical Examples Fortunately Kahlbaum prevented serious error by leaving the prognosis of his catatonia open. Benign Stupors August Hoch Taxonomic zeal began to blind vision when Kahlbaum formulated his “catatonia” and included stupor in […]

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    having catatonia, a syndrome characterized by muscular rigidity and mental stupor: The schizophrenic remained in a catatonic state. appearing to be in a daze or stupor; unresponsive: She had the catatonic expression of an avant-garde model. a person who suffers from catatonia. Contemporary Examples Please, God, let him not say that in yet another address […]

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