catawampus

catawampus

[kat-uh-wom-puhs] Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S.
adjective
1.
askew; awry.
2.
positioned diagonally; cater-cornered.
adverb
3.
diagonally; obliquely: We took a shortcut and walked catawampus across the field.


Origin:
1830–40 for earlier sense “utterly”; cata- diagonally (see cater-cornered) + -wampus, perhaps akin to wampish

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

catawampus
1840, the sort of jocular pseudo-classical formation popular in the slang of those times.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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