Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Post Office is Kitty-corner to the Court House

The Post Office is Kitty-corner to the Court House The Post Office is Kitty-corner to the Court House The Post Office is Kitty-corner to the Court House By Maeve Maddox Cassandra Marx writes: In the last few weeks, I have seen or heard numerous references to something being catty-cornered, katty-cornered, and kitty-cornered to something else. Would you please tell me what the correct usage/spelling is? Although I have included this expression in a previous post on cat words, I think it deserves a post of its own. Heres what I had to say the first time around: Catty-corner is a directional word, meaning that something is diagonally across from something else. The word started out as cater-corner. Cater is an English dialect word meaning â€Å"to set or move diagonally.† When the word cater with its meaning of to set or move diagonally dropped out of the language, folk etymology got busy and now we have all kinds of â€Å"cat† variants for this concept: catty-cornered†¨ kitty-corner†¨ kitty-cornered†¨ catty-corner†¨ cat-a-corner kitty-corner†¨ kit-a-corner This time I have my brand-new copy of Brewers Dictionary of Phrase Fable (17th edtion) to consult. This is what I find under the entry cater-cornered: Cater-cornered. Placed diagonally, as of a badly parked car in a parking space. Cater is an old word for the four dots on dice, which form diagonals, from French quatre, four. Other spellings of the term are catty-cornered and kitty-cornered, as if somehow to do with cats. Apparently the dialect word with the meaning to set or move diagonally, derived from quatre. As for the correct usage/spelling, the usage seems to be universal as to meaning. Something that is catty-cornered to something else is diagonally opposite. Until some authority decrees otherwise, I suppose that spelling and pronunciation are a matter of local usage. I grew up with kitty-corner. Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily! Keep learning! Browse the Expressions category, check our popular posts, or choose a related post below:100 Mostly Small But Expressive Interjections15 Words for Household Rooms, and Their Synonyms20 Ways to Cry

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