Definition of when or while the cat's away, the mice will play in English:

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when (or while) the cat's away, the mice will play

proverb People will naturally take advantage of the absence of someone in authority to do as they like: ‘His parents are away for the weekend.’ ‘I see—while the cat’s away.’
More example sentences
  • However, it rings true that when the cat's away, the mice will play,’ said Dronkers.
  • He left last night, straight from work, and as you know, while the cat's away, the mice will play.
  • It's certainly a case of while the cat's away, the mice will play - what they get up to is barely legal!
See parent entry: cat
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