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Victorian Slang of the Week

catawampously or catawamptiously: this feels like American grown slang to me. It is used as an adverb. There is also “catawampus” as a noun, adjective or verb.

catawampously and catawamptiously both mean entirely, vigorously. 1834 on, with several references, throughout the period. Example, a person could be “catawampously chawed out” over some mishap.

catawampus as an adjective is similar, as in ferocious and impressive. 1843. It is also something out of shape or askew. 1851 and 1884

catawampus as a verb is to confuse or damage 1839

catawampus as a noun means a peculiar or remarkable thing or person. 1833

It’s origin is designated at Midland, which I imagine means the middle of the country. Although there aren’t as many references for catawampus as there are for catawampously, it’s probably safe to say it was used often as well.

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1 Comment

  1. My mom used catawampus a lot to mean askew. Makes me think of her when I hear the word.

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