Languages

there is an equivalent phrase in US English, and also spread via the military, the Navy in our case. if a situation has gone “pear shaped”, it has gone “cattywampus.” which means diagonally. I heard that it was deep south regional slang and came into parlance within the Navy due to southerners having an outsized presence in the submarine division.

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I think, though, that “Cattywampus” comes originally from “cater” or caton" or something like that, which meant “diagonally.” Like “cattycorner.” And the “wampus” meant “skewed beyond that” or something.

Ah, this is interesting:

First in the US in 1834, but as an adverb “cattywampusly” then by Dickens in 1843 used as we do today.

“Cattywampus” (1834) has held a variety of meanings and spellings, including as an adverb (catawampusly) meaning “completely/utterly/avidly,” a name for a fantastical imp-like creature or a mountain lion, and an adjective meaning “askew,” from obsolete “cater,” from the Greek prefix kata- (downward, toward), and perhaps from the old Scottish slang wampish (to wriggle or twist about.)

And at

Both source reference back to Greek.

Very cool!

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