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I sometimes come across words that are funny-sounding. I can only define these words as those that pretty much are as spoken. What the heck is “cattywampus?” What is “bumfuzzle?” I must admit that the former is more familiar to me than the latter. Here are their definitions. Enjoy!



dialect : askew, awry, kitty-corner


“The points … where [the two grids] would meet became Broadway and Colfax Ave. which is why to this day downtown Denver sits catty-wampus to the rest of the city.” – Francis J. Pierson and Dennis J. Gallagher, Getting to Know Denver: Five Fabulous Walking Tours, 2006

About the Word:

Long ago English gamblers called the four-dotted side of a die cater (from the French quatre, “four”). The placement of those four dots suggested two diagonal lines, which is likely how cater came to mean (dialectally, anyway) “to place, move, or cut across diagonally.”

Catercorner (later kitty-corner) (author aside: catty-corner is how I recall it) and caterwampus –and eventually cattywampus – followed.



confuse; perplex; fluster


“Irish can bumfuzzle any team” – headline about the Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” football team, Chicago Tribune, October 27, 2002

About the Word:

Bumfuzzle may have begun as dumfound, which was then altered first into dumfoozle and then into bumfoozle. Dumfound (or dumbfound) remains a common word today, but bumfuzzle unfortunately is extremely rare.

Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/top-ten-lists/top-10-funny-sounding-and-interesting-words/cattywampus.html#Flf10M7A7BcZ9h6h.99