Share this entry

catnip Line breaks: cat¦nip
Pronunciation: /ˈkatnɪp/

Definition of catnip in English:


1A plant of the mint family, with downy leaves, purple-spotted white flowers, and a pungent smell attractive to cats. Also called catmint.
  • Genus Nepeta, family Labiatae: several species
Example sentences
  • Interplant with horseradish, dead nettle, catnip, coriander, nasturtiums, and tansy.
  • Chewing insects can spread the disease from weeds as they feed, so be sure to remove all nearby pokeweed, nightshade, catnip, horsenettle and motherwort.
  • Unless it's the drug-like catnips and valerians, most cats ignore growing things.
1.1Someone or something that is very attractive or appealing to a particular person or group: both men are aggressive self-promoters and catnip for the media biotech stocks have become catnip to investors this year
More example sentences
  • This kind of stuff is catnip to the mainstream press, which otherwise doesn't know much or care much about Bitcoin.
  • Civil War reenactments are catnip for photographers.
  • The technical legal term for that kind of evidence is "juror catnip."


Late 18th century (originally US): from cat1 + nip, variant of dialect nep, nept, from medieval Latin nepta, from Latin nepeta 'catmint'.

Words that rhyme with catnip

Cudlipp • paperclip • parsnip

Definition of catnip in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources