Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “a cagey response.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "The response was cagey.”)
Something or someone cagey is very careful, smart, and shrewd.
More specifically, being cagey usually means you're being careful to keep your own secrets.
Cagily, cagier, cageist, caginess/cageyness (both are correct, but I prefer "caginess.")
There's also an alternate spelling: "cagy."
How to use it:
Talk about a cagey person, someone who's being cagey, someone being cagey about something, a cagey response, a cagey explanation, a cagey choice of words, a cagey refusal to answer the question, being cagey when you're asked to talk about something, a cagey attitude, a cagey demeanor, a cagey personality, a cagey sense of which jokes will go over well and which won't, and so on.
I've always found that little note at the beginning of novels to be so cagey, you know, the one that says "Any resemblance to real people or events in this story is totally a coincidence."
My baby daughter likes watching Super Why! on Netflix, and I recently cracked up laughing at the summary of one upcoming episode: the main character's parents are acting "cagey" the day before his birthday. (Hmm, what could they possibly be planning? Why on earth would they be keeping a secret?)
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "cagey" means when you can explain it without saying "coy" or "secretive."
Think of a time you wisely said little to nothing, and fill in the blanks: "(Since/ While/ During/ Throughout/ When) _____, I (was/have been/am) cagey about _____."
Example: "Throughout the last major election, I was cagey on Facebook about my preferred candidate."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
Our game for May is: “What Do These Words Have in Common?”
The three words given will have something specific in common. (More than one right answer might be possible, but I've only got one particular answer in mind for each set of words.) I've arranged the questions from easiest to hardest, so today’s should be pretty easy. By the end of the month, expect some whoppers.
What do these words have in common?: brunch, Texarkana, Velcro
Answer: All are portmanteaus, or words made up of pieces of other words:
brunch (breakfast and lunch),
Texarkana (Texas and Arkansas), and
Velcro (French Velours, meaning velvet, and crochet, meaning hook.)
Try this one today: level, civic, deified
A Point Well Made:
Thich Nhat Hanh: “When you look at your loved one, you see that he is also made of stars and carries eternity inside.”
1. The opposite of CAGEY is
2. I'd much rather be known for caginess than for the alternative-- _____.
A. keeping every thought to myself before suddenly spilling them out angrily
B. flying off the handle at the slightest provocation, making everybody nervous
C. revealing more than what's appropriate, making people say "TMI!"
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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