Curiosity killed the cat. We always hear that term when people get interested or curious about something. But, what does it mean?
Curiosity Killed the Cat
To be curious it means you have a a strong desire to know or learn something. The main reason this came out was because the cat likes to snoop into everything. It likes to be curious. Too often that curiosity is what lead to the death of the cat.
The phrase “Curiosity Killed the Cat” is a phrase of curiosity.
The reason curiosity killed that cat is because the cat got into something out of being curious. It is a form of a proverb that warns of dangers and being inquisitive about other people’s affairs may get you into trouble.
The earliest printed reference to the original proverb is attributed to the British playwright Ben Jonson in his 1598 play, Every Man in His Humour, which was performed first by William Shakespeare.
…Helter skelter, hang sorrow, care will kill a cat, up-tails all, and a pox on the hangman.
Shakespeare used a similar quote in his circa 1599 play, Much Ado About Nothing:
What, courage man! what though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
The proverb remained the same until at least 1898. Ebenezer Cobham Brewer included this definition in his Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:
Care killed the Cat.
It is said that “a cat has nine lives,” yet care would wear them all out.
If you notice, these quotes all say about care killed the cat, not curiosity killed the cat. However, here they say care meant worry or sorrow.
One of the earliest known printed reference of “Curiosity killed the cat” is in James Allan Mair’s 1873 compendium A Handbook of Proverbs: English, Scottish, Irish, American, Shakesperean, and scriptural; and Family Mottoes, an Irish Proverb found on page 34.
Not to mention, the actual phrase also appeared in a headline story in The Washington Post on March 4, 1916 found on page 6.