katzenjammer

noun

kat·​zen·​jam·​mer ˈkat-sən-ˌja-mər How to pronounce katzenjammer (audio)
1
2
3
: a discordant clamor

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 German Katze (meaning "cat") and Jammer (meaning "distress" or "misery"). English speakers borrowed the word for their hangovers (and other distressful inner states) in the first half of 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.

Example Sentences

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

Word History

Etymology

German, from Katze cat + Jammer distress

First Known Use

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of katzenjammer was in 1834

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near katzenjammer

Cite this Entry

“Katzenjammer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/katzenjammer. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition

katzenjammer

noun
kat·​zen·​jam·​mer ˈkat-sən-ˌjam-ər How to pronounce katzenjammer (audio)
1
2
: emotional distress or depression
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