catercorner

cat·​er·​cor·​ner ˈki-tē-ˌkȯr-nər How to pronounce catercorner (audio) ˈka-tē- How to pronounce catercorner (audio)
ˈka-tə-
variants or catercornered

less common variants of kitty-corner

: in a diagonal or oblique position
the house stood kitty-corner across the square

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Catercorner gets its first element from the Middle French noun quatre, meaning “four,” which English speakers modified to cater and applied to the four-dotted side of a die—a side important in several winning combinations in dice games. Perhaps because the four spots on a die can suggest an X, cater eventually came to be used dialectically with the meaning of “diagonal” or “diagonally”; cater was then combined with corner to form catercorner. Eventually the variants kitty-corner and catty-corner, which are now the more common forms, developed. Despite all appearances, these terms bear no etymological relation to our feline friends.

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Cite this Entry

“Catercorner.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/catercorner. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

catercorner

cat·​er·​cor·​ner
variants or cater-cornered

variant of kitty-corner

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