Friday, 29 December 2017

Where Did That Come From?





This is the first of a new series – on some Fridays.  I have always been curious about words and sayings.  So I have been making a little list and thought I would share with you some sayings and their origins.  Hope you enjoy this.

Here we go (this time with a feline theme):

Catty-corner: I was reading a book set in the States and it said that someone's house was catty-corner from the church.  It means diagonally across from but where did this come from.  And what has it to do with cats?

Well, nothing.  It apparently is a distortion of the French word 'quatre' meaning 4 as in 4 corners.  In Old English that became cater which was used for a diagonal move.  And then it became catty (or kitty)

Catnap: This word is inspired by cats and the way they doze during the day.  A catnap is also known as a power nap – or forty winks.

The cat's pajamas: As in 'He just thinks he's the cat's pajamas'  - he thinks very highly of himself.  It seems that this phrase has nothing to do with cats in the feline sense.  From the 1920s hip or cool people were known as 'cats' as in cool cat.  There is speculation that pajamas for women became popular outerwear and were avant-garde so the 'cat's pajamas' was something cool and up to the minute.

Catwalk: This word isn't just applicable to fashion shows but to all high narrow walkways.  It's quite an old word and probably derives from a person needing the balance of a cat to walk on them.

3 comments:

  1. Fun, Carole, looking forward to the series! Happy New Year

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  2. Interesting series that might teach us a thing or two.

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  3. Interesting tidbits! Looking forward to the new series.

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