General Question

iJimmy's avatar

What is the etymology of caddywhompas?

Asked by iJimmy (864points) March 23rd, 2009 from iPhone

Anyone know where the word caddywhompass comes from?

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5 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

The spelling I know is “cattywampus.” There’s probably more than one. It’s one of those folk expressions like “cattycorner” and “dunduckety” and “snickerdoodle” that seem to have a bastard sort of etymology. I can’t take time to look it up right now, but I bet Google would help.

[Edit] Not sure if my examples are proper examples; I’d have to look them up too. But perhaps they convey the idea.

daloonagain's avatar

It’s what happens when you play your caddy and he womps your ass. It’s etymology comes from the golf course, as a bastardization of “your caddy womped your ass? I hope you weren’t playing for tips.”

marinelife's avatar

Catty wampus [1840; American; chiefly Midlands and Southern U.S.; variant spellings catawampous, kattywampus, cattywampus, caddywompous and catawampus; “a humorous formation” of which the etymology is lost; perhaps the first element of catty wampus with the sense of ‘fierce or destructive’ < a variant on the American folk term catamount, an abbreviation for catamountain, which is ‘a mountain lion’; or perhaps < the Greek root kata- ‘implying disparagement or abuse’; perhaps the first element with the sense of ‘askew or crooked’ < a now obsolete verb cater (1577) ‘to set or move diagonally’ (< Middle French catre ‘four’ < Latin quattuor) and is seen in the word catty corner (originally spelled catercorner and meant ‘four-cornered’), now meaning ‘two items diagonally across from each other’; perhaps the second element < the Scots verb wampish ‘to twist or wriggle’].”

“Still another sense of ‘catawampus’ and ‘catty wampus’ was common in some sections of the antebellum South. It meant goblin, sprite or, sometimes, fearsome beast. Slaveowners were known to warn slaves they thought might be planning to run away that ‘catawampus cats’ were lurking in wait for them. They sometimes also made fearsome noises in the night, which they claimed were the bloodthirsty roars of the catawampus cats.’” Source

bythebay's avatar

Hahaha @Marina: Or, we could dumb it down a bit!

Bagardbilla's avatar

Good to C Ya back daloon!
I’ll lurve you long time (all the way back to 10K).
Sorry for hijacking the thread…

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