Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Out of alignment, crooked, cater-corner.
  • adj. Fierce, destructive.
  • n. A fierce imaginary animal, a bogeyman.

Etymologies

In the fierce sense probably from catamount (mountain cat). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It wasn't until the red pickup parked catawampus in our driveway and we had to park on the street that Mary cracked.

    Level

  • So when news gets out that the Super Saver Dollar Store chain plans to set up shop and run the Bottom Dollar out of town, things go catawampus.

    Review: Bet Your Bottom Dollar

  • But in Whitson's case, one of the pieces mysteriously hung on too long, sending the Soyuz toward earth catawampus, exposing unshielded parts of the capsule to the seering heat of reentry.

    CNN Transcript May 2, 2008

  • She showed me the 7x6x5 cm cyst on my left ovary and pointed out that my uterus is seriously catawampus.

    Fair Medical Care?

  • They eat about a million times more seed than the little House Finches, they knock the feeder all catawampus (great word), spill seed all over the place and dig around in the window box where an already struggling Danish (as in, from Denmark) Lilly of the Valley clings desperately to life.

    trinityboy Diary Entry

  • She looked back, and saw that the catawampus was growling on the brink, unable to catch her here.

    Roc and a Hard Place

  • Gradually the catawampus gained on her; she could hear the closer thudding of its hugely clawed feet, and the blasting bellow of its breath.

    Roc and a Hard Place

  • The catawampus rushed toward her, cranking up its claws for pounce mode.

    Roc and a Hard Place

  • Things have all 'gone catawampus,' as Susan says, with me this week.

    Rilla of Ingleside

  • Dear me, everything has gone catawampus with me this week.

    Anne's House of Dreams

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "He looked up from his examinations, his face all catawampus from the glassicals."
    Soulless by Gail Carriger, p 12

    November 8, 2010

  • –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, perh. akin to wampish

    June 26, 2009

  • var. cattywampus, probably regional.

    December 17, 2006