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from , Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective informal In disarray or disorder; askew.
  • adjective Not directly across from nor adjacent to.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


The word cattywampus has been adopted by Marjanne Pearson.

Help support Wordnik by adopting your own word here.


  • The justice of the peace was a twitchy little man with a stutter and a two-dollar rug laid cattywampus across his head.

  • The justice of the peace was a twitchy little man with a stutter and a two-dollar rug laid cattywampus across his head.

  • The justice of the peace was a twitchy little man with a stutter and a two-dollar rug laid cattywampus across his head.

  • September 25, 2009 at 6:34 am cattywampus is wun of mai faberite wers!

  • "If this is mean to be reassurance, it's cattywampus" said Allie, grinning at Myra.

  • Let the customers put up with the cattywampus wall🐻s they are infl🎐icting on the outside environment, and see how they like it.

  • Or buried paleosols with the A horizons cattywampus.

    Fault Line

  • If you are going to display documents on LinkedIn profile, this is important PDF file = Lock work in place so it can't be easily modified by others MS Word shows industry jargon with underlines for misspellings can look cattywampus!

  • I resent it when my toes are going a bit cattywampus after 8 hours on the retail floor, and when꧙ my legs cram🅰p up with the wrong shoes.

  • Last Sunday we went out for dinner, last night we went out for dinner to celebrate Chase's birthday and he's working tonight, and then next Sunday is Easter, so my posts are a little cattywampus these days.


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  • I always heard it as catawampus, and despiteꦕ googlings൲ which define it as being similar to "kitty corner", as a child I was told it was a swamp monster.

    December 17, 2006

  • Interesting, I have heard it used as a synonym to askew.

    December 18, 2006

  • well, andrew, my father was a quirky man.

    December 18, 2006

  • Yeah, andrew.simone's right. It means "all messed up." As in, "Well, your grandpa tried to put the knob back on the cupboard, but instead he broke the hinge and now it's all cattywampus."

    December 18, 2006

  • It just means all-gone-to-hell-screwed-up.

    December 29, 2006

  • This word isn't used nearly enough. I can't think of a better way to put a quirky spin on an otherwise bad situation than to label it "cattywampus".

    August 14, 2007

  • I think of this word as having a similar connotation to "wabi sabi," a phrase/concept which i read about long ago in Utne, which means "the beauty of imperfection." Life is asymmetrical, out of alignment, askew, f'd up, etc. I find a certain comfort in appreciating that state of affairs.

    March 21, 2008

  • I've never heard it or read it. Until here of course, given that Wordie is a kind of Old Bazaar of Cairo for these kinds of terms :-)

    March 21, 2008

  • Haha! Great description of Wordie, bilby. Now, what will you give me for this fine word?

    March 21, 2008

  • It's spelled catawampus

    September 10, 2008

  • Not cattiewampus?

    September 10, 2008

  • Actually, CK, dictionaries cite both spellings. :-) And as a bonus, I found skewampus--apparently a combination of askew and cattywampus.

    gangerh: Haha! It took me a second....

    September 10, 2008

  • OED2 lists it under catawampous, which dates from 1840. Google Books shows seven examples of that spelling in the 1840s, then no more. It was replaced by "catawampus", first recorded in 1843. Judging from Google Books, "cattywampus" originates as a pronunciation guide for "catawampus" in 1901, but isn't used in its own right until the 1930s. Since then it's slowly been gaining ground on "catawampus", but hasn't caught it yet.

    Perhaps this is a case of spelling capture in action, influenced by catty-corner.

    By the way, let us not forget the galliwampus.

    September 10, 2008

  • meaning twisted or not straight. I am a nurse and use it when I go straighten my patients out in bed. I tell them they are all "cattywampus". I think I picked this word up when I lived in Maine.

    July 26, 2009

  • More info here:

    September 13, 2011

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