kat·​zen·​jam·​mer | \ ˈkat-sən-ˌja-mər How to pronounce katzenjammer (audio) \

Definition of katzenjammer

3 : a discordant clamor

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Did You Know?

Have you ever heard a cat wailing and felt that you could relate? Apparently some hungover German speakers once did. "Katzenjammer" comes from the German Katze (meaning "cat") and "Jammer" (meaning "distress"). English speakers borrowed the word for their hangovers (and other distressful inner states) in the 19th century and eventually applied it to outer commotion as well. The word isn't as popular in English today as it was around the mid-20th century, but it's well-known to many because of the "Katzenjammer Kids," a long-running comic strip featuring the incorrigibly mischievous twins Hans and Fritz.

Examples of katzenjammer in a Sentence

traffic was all tied up, the kids were fighting, and in the midst of all this katzenjammer, the phone rang

First Known Use of katzenjammer

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for katzenjammer

German, from Katze cat + Jammer distress

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The first known use of katzenjammer was in 1834

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Cite this Entry

“Katzenjammer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/katzenjammer. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for katzenjammer


kat·​zen·​jam·​mer | \ ˈkat-sən-ˌjam-ər How to pronounce katzenjammer (audio) \

Medical Definition of katzenjammer

2 : emotional distress or depression

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