Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Word of the Day -- Cattywumpus

Note:  This word has a special feel to me, as it was one of my mom's favorite words. tb

Cattywumpus means "askew, awry, kitty-corner".  Long ago English gamblers called the four-dotted side of a die cater (from the French quatre, "four"). The placement of those four dots suggested two diagonal lines, which is likely how cater came to mean (dialectally, anyway) "to place, move, or cut across diagonally."

Catercorner (later kitty-corner) and caterwampus –and eventually cattywampus –followed.

My mother used to say everything in our house was caterwampus or cattywumpus.  And she was mostly right, especially it all three brothers were in residence. My middle brother Bob routinely left (and still does) a wake of destruction and disrepair as he moves about.  The derivation of the word is pretty cool I think. 

And there is something Cattywumpus about the next entry! (sc)

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