positioned diagonally; cater-cornered.
We took a shortcut and walked catawampus across the field.
Whenever the barometer goes up two points catawampus must be remembered.
Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, 1890.05.10 Various
also catawampous, cattywampus, catiwampus, etc. (see “Dictionary of American Slang” for more), American colloquial. First element perhaps from obsolete cater “to set or move diagonally” (see catty-cornered); second element perhaps related to Scottish wampish “to wriggle, twist, or swerve about.” Or perhaps simply the sort of jocular pseudo-classical formation popular in the slang of those times, with the first element suggesting Greek kata-.
Earliest use seems to be in adverbial form, catawampusly (1834), expressing no certain meaning but adding intensity to the action: “utterly, completely; with avidity, fiercely, eagerly.” It appears as a noun from 1843, as a name for an imaginary hobgoblin or fright, perhaps from influence of catamount. The adjective is attested from the 1840s as an intensive, but this is only in British lampoons of American speech and might not be authentic. It was used in the U.S. by 1864 in a sense of “askew, awry, wrong” and by 1873 (noted as a peculiarity of North Carolina speech) as “in a diagonal position, on a bias, crooked.”
catatricrotism catatricrotism cat·a·tri·cro·tism (kāt’ə-trī’krə-tĭz’əm) n. A condition of the pulse marked by three expansions of the artery following the main beat and producing three upward notches on the downstroke of a pulse tracing. cat’a·tri·crot’ic (-trī-krŏt’ĭk) adj.
a Siouan language of North and South Carolina. a river flowing from W North Carolina into South Carolina, where it becomes the Wateree River. Compare Wateree. Horticulture. a reddish variety of grape. the vine bearing this fruit, grown in the eastern U.S. a light, dry, white wine made from this grape. Contemporary Examples The visionary […]
- Catawba grape
noun very sweet medium-sized purplish-red American grape used for jams, jellies, and white wine Word Origin (Vitis Labrusca) from the river Catawba in South Carolina (named for the Katahba Indians), where the grape was first discovered Usage Note cooking
an advantageous situation or condition: His appointment as acting dean put him in the catbird seat. noun phrase An enviable position; a controlling position: The owners are in the catbird seat (1930s+) Related Terms sit in the catbird seat A situation of advantage or superiority, as in His promotion put Charles in the catbird seat. […]