Trending: catamount

Lookups spiked 36,800% on March 21, 2019

Why are people looking up catamount?

Catamount was among our top lookups on March 21st, 2019, spiking after the query of a college basketball commentator, Kenny Smith, who wondered what, exactly was the nature of such a beast.

What does catamount mean?

The Vermont Catamounts are the basketball team of the University of Vermont. We do not offer definitions for such entities. However, the catamount enjoys a non-titular existence outside of collegiate athletics, and we offer two definitions for this: "cougar" (a large powerful tawny-brown cat formerly widespread in the Americas but now reduced in number or extinct in many areas) and "lynx" (any of several wildcats with relatively long legs, a short stubby tail, mottled coat, and usually tufted ears that are thought to comprise a distinct genus (Lynx) of the cat family or to be part of a genus (Felis) that includes the domestic cat and cougar).

Where does catamount come from?

Catamount dates from the middle of the 17th century. The word came into English as a clipped version of the existing cat-a-mountain, which had been in use already for hundreds of years, in literal and figurative fashion both.

Citations

The other four legs are cloven and arm'd with little clea's or tallons (like a Catamount) by which she layes hold on the rugosities and asperities of all bodies she walks over, even to the supportance of her self, though with her back downwards and perpendicularly invers'd to the Horizon.
— Henry Power, Experimental Philosophy, 1664

….they have fisgigges to amaze and dazzle the people with strange new lights; some of which are their Emissaries, Dell, Cates, Nye, Randall, Erbury, Sympson, Best, that boastly Blasphemy, with such like Catamountaines that go Catterwaling up and downe the Kingdome, to teach people to scratch out one anothers eyes.
— Anon., A case for the city-spectacles, 1648

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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