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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce pussyfoot (audio)

Dictionary definition of pussyfoot

To move cautiously, hesitantly, or stealthily, often characterized by a lack of confidence or assertiveness.
"Despite having strong opinions, he felt he had to pussyfoot around controversial topics."

Detailed meaning of pussyfoot

It suggests tiptoeing around a situation or issue, taking small and careful steps to avoid direct confrontation or decisive action. When someone pussyfoots, they may be hesitant to express their true opinions or intentions, preferring to navigate situations delicately or avoid making firm commitments. The term carries a connotation of indecisiveness, timidity, or a reluctance to take a bold or direct approach. It implies a sense of tentativeness or walking on eggshells, often motivated by a desire to avoid conflict or controversy.

Example sentences containing pussyfoot

1. Tom tends to pussyfoot around tough decisions at work, causing delays.
2. I hate to pussyfoot; it's crucial to be direct and assertive.
3. Don't pussyfoot - voice your opinions confidently in the meeting.
4. Leaders can't afford to pussyfoot when making crucial decisions.
5. She won’t pussyfoot around issues; she’s known for her directness.
6. To succeed, one must not pussyfoot, but take decisive actions.

History and etymology of pussyfoot

The verb 'pussyfoot' has a curious and somewhat uncertain etymology. It is believed to have emerged in the United States during the early 20th century. While its exact origin remains unclear, one theory suggests a connection to the word 'puss,' which is a colloquial term for a cat. Cats are known for their stealthy and cautious movements, and the behavior of 'pussyfooting' may have been likened to a cat's careful steps. Another theory posits that 'pussyfoot' may be related to the word 'pussy,' which was once used to describe a timid or effeminate person. In any case, 'pussyfoot' came to signify the act of moving cautiously, hesitantly, or stealthily, often characterized by a lack of confidence or assertiveness. Its etymology reflects the notion of tiptoeing or moving with extreme caution, as if trying to avoid making noise or drawing attention to oneself, similar to the stealthy approach of a cat.

Quiz: Find the meaning of pussyfoot

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Further usage examples of pussyfoot

1. He tends to pussyfoot when faced with confrontational situations.
2. In emergencies, there's no time to pussyfoot; immediate action is key.
3. We can't pussyfoot and expect to make significant progress fast.
4. To resolve conflicts, it’s vital not to pussyfoot around the issues.
5. She didn't pussyfoot around the topic, addressing it head-on.
6. I refuse to pussyfoot around the topic anymore.
7. If you pussyfoot with this project, we'll never meet the deadline.
8. She seemed to pussyfoot around her feelings for him.
9. The management won't pussyfoot when it comes to layoffs.
10. You can't pussyfoot through life avoiding every challenge.
11. Politicians often pussyfoot on controversial issues.
12. If we pussyfoot around the problem, it will never get solved.
13. Why do you always pussyfoot when it comes to expressing your opinion?
14. They won't pussyfoot with the truth in the courtroom.
15. Don't pussyfoot, just tell me how you really feel.
16. He'd rather pussyfoot than face the situation head-on.
17. If you pussyfoot in this industry, you'll never get ahead.
18. Don't pussyfoot with your investment; it's time to take a risk.
19. If you're going to pussyfoot about it, I'd rather do it myself.
20. Why does he always pussyfoot when he's asked about his future plans?
21. She wouldn't pussyfoot when it came to disciplinary matters.
22. Even in a crisis, some people prefer to pussyfoot.
23. The team can't pussyfoot on this; we need a decision now.
24. You can't pussyfoot in business negotiations if you want to be successful.



tiptoe, confront, face, approach directly


ACT 5 (American College Testing), High School 3, Subtle and Indirect

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