A nine-year-old from Yuma, Arizona, wants to know the origin of catawampus. So do etymologists. Catawampus means “askew,” “awry,” or “crooked.” We do know the word has been around for more than a century and is spelled many different ways, such as cattywampus and caddywampus. It may derive from the Scots word wampish, meaning to “wriggle,” “twist,” or “swerve.” This is part of a complete episode.

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