"kitty whompus"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 16 16:18:13 UTC 2008

Heard on The Judges:

Spoken by mid-forty-ish, white, female plaintiff, describing busted fridge:

"The door won't close completely because it's all _kittywampus_."

Judge Marilyn Milian:

"'Kittywampus'? What does that mean?"


"Uh, like, 'askew'?"

Judge MM:

"Oh, like 'out of line.' My husband uses that word to mean '_ginormous_.'"

I've long known this as a literary term, spelled "catawampus," with a
meaning that I vaguely recall as referring to some kind of animal that
played a part in yarns and tall tales. But this is the first time that
I've ever heard it spoken.

Weird that it happened during the week that the word was mentioned here.


On Sat, Jul 12, 2008 at 11:03 PM, Scot LaFaive <slafaive at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Scot LaFaive <slafaive at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      "kitty whompus"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Anyone have any clue where "kitty whompus" comes from? I don't see it
> in HDAS and I don't have access to DARE or OED.
> Scot
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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 -Sam'l Clemens

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