catawampus adj Also caliwampus, cankywampus, cattywampus and many other varr—see quots and DS Y38, KK20a, MM2, 3 [Var of cater- prefix + wampus, wampous, perh rel to Scots wampish to wriggle, twist, or swerve about] See also kitty-wampus adv
1 Askew, awry, wrong. widely scattered exc NEast See Map
1884 Murfree Where the Battle 405 TN, I kin prove ter ye that ye air all cat-a-wampus on that p’int. 1891 PMLA 6.173 TN, We might call a rhombus a catawampous square. 1903 DN 2.309 seMO, Catawampus. . . Out of shape; skewing. 1905 DN 3.73 nwAR, Catawampus. 1908 DN 3.297 eAL, wGA, Catawampus. . . Also pronounced cattywampus. 1911 DN 3.542 NE, Catawampus,cattywampus. 1917 DN 4.409 IL, KS, NE, KY, wNC, Catawampus. 1941 AmSp 16.21 sIN, Catawampus. 1947 Ballowe The Lawd 170 LA, It looked like all of the white brains were catawampus that day, all except Mrs. Effingham’s. 1950 PADS 13.17 cTX, Cattawampus. 1950 PADS 14.18 SC, Catawampus, caliwampus, kittywampus. . . cattiwampus. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. MM13, The table was nice and straight until he came along and knocked it _____) 62 Infs, widespread exc NEast, Gt Lakes, Catawampus; CA28, GA12, IN38, KY24, OH78, OK31, Cattywampus; AL12, MO26, Caddywampus; NC13, Cankywampus; CA136, Catawampused; IN38, Catterwampus; OK15, Cattywamp; LA12, Cattywampered; MS73, Cattywamping; LA40, Cattywhampus; (Qu. KK70, Something that has got out of proper shape: “That house is all _____.”) 28 Infs, scattered, but esp West, Gulf States, Catawampus; KY25 LA40, PA203, VA31, Catawhampus; SC31, VA5, Catawhompered; LA12, Catawampered; TX33, Catawampist; OR13, Catawamus; OR10, Catawapus; MS73, Catawhampit; VA5, Catawhobbled; IN60, Catawumpus; (Qu. MM15, If a carpenter nails a board crossing another board at an angle, you might say, “He nailed the board on _____.”) Infs IL130, 143, WA33, Catawampus; SC67, Caddywampus; CA136, Catawampused; OK15, Cattywamp; NC33, Cattywampus.
2 In a diagonal position (with respect to); catercorner adj A2. Cf catabias adj, catty-whistling adv
1911 DN 3.542 NE, Catawampus, cattywampus. . . Crosswise, diagonal. 1946 PADS 5.14 VA, Catty-wampered (cattawampus). . . In a diagonal position, or awry.
3 See quot.
1972 Cooper NC Mt. Folkl. 90, Catawampus . . big and fine.