Adam’s House Cat? The Story Behind the Expression


What’s up with the expression, “I wouldn’t know him from Adam’s house cat”?

Where in the world did that saying come from?

Robert Hendrickson explains it in The Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms. He writes:

The Southern expression “I wouldn’t know him from Adam’s house cat” is an attempt to improve upon “I wouldn’t know him from Adam’s off ox” (referring to the “off” ox in the yoke farthest away from the driver), which in turn is a variation of “I wouldn’t know him from Adam.”

Maybe it’s better than both of its predecessors, since hardly anyone drives oxen these days and, as more than one humorist has observed, Adam had no navel, wore only a fig leaf at most and would have been fairly easy to identify.



more fun facts


Leave a Reply