Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Word of the Day

You won't believe what today's Word of the Day is at dictionary.com...
Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S.

  1. askew; awry.
  2. positioned diagonally; cater-cornered.

  3. diagonally; obliquely: We took a shortcut and walked catawampus across the field.
Also, cattywampus [kat-ee-wom-puhs, kat-uh-]

Catawampus arose in the United States around 1840, during a particular vogue in elaborate 
coinages. Cata-stems from cater-, a now-archaic root meaning "diagonal," while the source 
of -wampus is subject to debate.

Very circuitous, I must say- most sidelong and backhanded, cockeyed and 
skew-jawed, catawampus and wonky.
-- Candace A. Croft, Annalia's Simply Splendid Flight: From Another Side of Day

The only traditional touches are the catawampus walls and whichaway entrances dictated by 
Feng Shui, the art of placing things so as to ensure luck and not disturb spirits.
-- P. J. O'Rourke, Eat the rich

The word is available on their Obsolete American Slang flash cards. How funny!
Also one guy offered an alternative definition: "a fierce, imaginary animal, the sort of 
vicious critter that jumps you in the woods shortly before you're never seen again." Haha!

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