That’s the word I woke to this morning. There it was, like some kind of dictate, skittling about, all askew in my just-waking mind.

It’s a Dad word. Some adjective he’ll toss out once in a while to describe something not quite in order.

No school today for Jeb. He rode as a passenger. I attempted to execute errands. Providence, it just scoffed at plans.

Three scheduled meetings cancelled, and I discovered the health insurance company has been trying to call me for three weeks but dialing the wrong phone number.

I kick myself only after being excessively honest to the medical reviewer by disclosing I had mono when I was fifteen. A minor fact that is something, like, twenty-five years long-since past. Talk about over-sharing.

2013-03-22merlin_guitarThere was no traditional 4am post to the Archives this morning. Heck, I’m here drinking coffee at 6:20 pm, while a precocious rooster chick stares at me, chirping from a nearby perch in my living room. Huh?

Am I suggesting that, perhaps, there was some harbinger of the day with that whispered word the minute I woke? Maybe.

Here I am, at day’s end calling on the Muse. Trying to write something meaningful about how today has been just a little different than the norm.

My iTunes library is on shuffle (though, I never usually listen to music and write). In this moment, what’s been selected is a Jeb single from the Black Eyed Peas, “Boom Boom Pow”.

Like I said, cattywampus.

courtesy of
courtesy of


6 thoughts on “Cattywampus

  1. Cattywampus – never have seen it spelled, didn’t know it was anything but a made-up family word! It’s curious how words spread. My former location was east central Ohio. Where did you learn ‘cattywampus’?


    1. I grew up hearing the word in central California. I’d never bothered to look it up until writing this post and I’ve enjoyed learning more about this funny word. Apparently, it orginated from the early to mid-1800’s and according to Wikipedia it can even be used as a noun to mean “a fierce imaginary animal or a bogeyman”. It has some fun alternate forms, too: catawamptious; catawampous; cattywampus; cattywampous; caliwampus; caliwampous; cankywampus; kittywampus; gittywampus. My winners from the list are cankywampus and gittywampus. Fun fun! Thanks for chiming in!


  2. ‘Cattywampus’, you gotta like the sound of it, and my, how Mr. Merlin is growing! Next thing you know, he’ll be bringing chicks home and you’ll be in the chicken business in Kauai.


    1. If Merlin started bringing feathered friends home then my world would be more cattywampus than it is already! One chick is enough and we’re working on his outdoor coop today. In my reply to Carolervin on this post, I outlined a few more alternate forms of cattywampus that I’ve learned. If you feel like branching out and impressing your friends, Dad, maybe you can incorporate some of these into your vocabulary. Maybe a poem? 🙂 As I mentioned, I’m particularly fond of gittywampus and cankywampus. Thanks for the inspiration!


    1. Yes, well those quilters all know about keeping things in line. The secret’s out now! Glad there are a few of you out there that have heard this word too. See my comment to Carolevin showing alternate forms that could be very fun to type out (and say!).


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