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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Catnip \Cat"nip`\, Catmint \Cat"mint`\, n. (Bot.) A well-know plant of the genus Nepeta ( Nepeta Cataria), somewhat like mint, having a string scent, and sometimes used in medicine. It is so called because cats have a peculiar fondness for it.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1712, American English, from cat (n.) + nip, from Old English nepte "catnip," from Latin nepta, name of an aromatic herb. The older name is Middle English catmint (mid-13c.).


n. 1 Any of the about 250 species of flowering plant of the genus ''Nepeta'', family Lamiaceae, certain of which are said to have medicinal qualities. 2 (taxlink Nepeta cataria species noshow=1) and (taxlink Nepeta grandiflora species noshow=1) (and perhaps other species), which are well-known for causing an apparently harmless pheromone-based intoxication among certain cats.


n. hairy aromatic perennial herb having whorls of small white purple-spotted flowers in a terminal spike; used in the past as a domestic remedy; strongly attractive to cats [syn: catmint, Nepeta cataria]

Catnip (disambiguation)

Catnip usually refers to the plant Nepeta cataria.

It may also refer to

  • the plant genus Nepeta;
  • Nepetalactone, the cat attractant in the catnip plant
  • Catnip, Kentucky

Nepeta cataria, commonly known as catnip, catswort, or catmint, is a species of the genus Nepeta in the family Lamiaceae, native to southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, central Asia, and parts of China. It is also widely naturalized in northern Europe, New Zealand, and North America. The common name catmint can also refer to the genus as a whole. The names catnip and catmint are derived from the intense attraction most cats have towards them.

Usage examples of "catnip".

It was only a chill, everybody gets chills now and then, and could he help it if he shook so hard the catnip just fell out of his hand?

Domestic treatment may be given as follows, until a physician can be obtained: Catnip, pennyroyal, or pleurisy-root tea, containing one teaspoonful of the Extract of Smart-weed, may be given, to drive the rash to the surface.

It is best to use daily an alkaline bath, and, as a drink, the tea of pleurisy-root, catnip, or other diaphoretics, to which may be added from one-half to one teaspoonful of the Extract of Smart-weed.

If it be occasioned by cold, a teaspoonful or two of the Extract of Smart-weed, in warm water or catnip tea, repeated a few times, will be sufficient.

Assist the action of physic, by giving an injection of senna and catnip tea, or if the stomach is very sour, take internally some mild alkali, such as common saleratus.

The cats roused themselves from their catnip stupor and raced for the bedroom.

Tony wondered just how disturbed he should be about finding the smell of warm vodka and catnip comforting.

He tossed in another bay leaf and a few more flakes of catnip, changed his mind and attempted to scoop them out again.

Finally, he picked up the remains of the catnip mouse, and hoisted twenty pounds of tough striped tomcat to his shoulder.

As the doors were closed and Gustav-Adolf was spending the night on a cushion beside the Mother-Empress, the catnip mouse attracted no intruders, but when two bosuns wakened him rudely at an early hour, he was still groggy and red-eyed, and it took him a few painful moments to understand that his dreams had not come terribly true.

Gustav-Adolf, drawn by the scent of catnip, meowed loudly and fell in line behind him.

However, a number of catnip seeds sprouted in the pot and burgeoned splendidly, producing plants very different from Earthside catnip but quite as erotically exhilarating to Gustav-Adolf.

Automatically, he picked a sprig of mutant catnip and began to munch it, and presently the vision, though it did not quite disappear, began to lose its force.

Papa Schimmelhorn took special care to be more than ordinarily subservient to the Mother-Empress at handout time, and he prepared himself for bed by chewing a few tasty catnip leaves.

Pukpuk only as a minor impediment in the background, and had failed completely to observe the very obvious signs of jealousy displayed by his small companion, or the ferocity with which he gnawed his catnip and bristled his red eyebrows.