catawampus
Anyone know the origin of the word "catawampus,"? It's a "grandma word" which means crooked or off-center in an American dialect.
Jordan Singer: A friend found the following in an unabridged dictionary (Random House -- guess that's what they're for):Of Midland and Southern origin. Means: 1) askew, awry 2) positioned diagonally 3) obliquely, as in "we made a shortcut catawampus through the cotton fields"Derivation: 1830-40's for earlier sense "utterly" cata = diagonally, as in cater cornered, from obsolete cater for four (4), probably from quarter wampus = perhaps akin to wampish, of Scottish origin 1810-20, to wave about or flop to and fro, apparently of expressive origin.


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