The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #103674   Message #2869463
Posted By: GUEST,Bob Coltman
22-Mar-10 - 03:53 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: the wampus cat
Subject: RE: Folklore: the wampus cat
Well, that brings up "catercorner," most often heard nowadays as "catacorner" or cattycorner" = diagonally opposite. Webster (9th New Collegiate) dates it to 1843. I suppose the connotation could be "skewed" — wampus cats tend to be.

"Caterwomtious" is close enough to be an original for "catawampus." Intriguing! I wonder, if so, when the "cat" part of the word started being understood as an animal rather than an orientation in space.

And "womtious" / wampus sounds a lot like "rumpus." Disorder again!

"Catawampus" isn't in Webster 9NC. Neither is "wampus." Webster definitely needs a wampus cat breathing hotly on his neck to give him a sense of reality about this.

Oh, well, some of us know perfectly well they exist.