Word of the Day


Word of the Day for May 16, 2013 is: caterwaul \KAT-er-wawl\ verb

1 : to make a harsh cry 2 : to protest or complain noisily


The toddler caterwauled loudly when her toy was taken away.

“Stockton’s leaders clearly calculated that at this point they have little to lose by shortchanging bondholders—its credit rating is already so low that it’d have a hard time financing a used Hyundai with $5,000 down—and that while creditors may sue, complain, and caterwaul, they do not get to vote.” — From an article by Kevin D. Williamson in National Review, April 3, 2013

Did you know?

An angry (or amorous) cat can make a lot of noise. As long ago as the mid-1300s, English speakers were using “caterwaul” for the act of voicing feline passions. The “cater” part is, of course, connected to the cat, but scholars disagree about whether it traces to Middle Dutch “cāter,” meaning “tomcat,” or if it is really just “cat” with an “-er” added. The “waul” is probably imitative in origin; it represents the feline howl itself. English’s first “caterwaul” was a verb focused on feline vocalizations, but by the 1600s it was also being used for noisy people or things. By the 1700s it had become a noun naming any sound as loud and grating as a tomcat’s yowl.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s