Definition of catnip in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkatnɪp/


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
  • They're a family whose internal squabbles have been tabloid catnip for decades.
  • Pitting two actresses against one another is catnip for fans of both, you know that.
  • Downton's heady blend of fab frocks and troubled relationships is catnip for women of all ages and backgrounds.


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

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