Monday, September 19, 2011

Kitty-Corner, Katty-Corner, What?

A few months ago, I was giving directions to a friend and used the expression, “kitty-corner.” He gave me a blank stare, which was followed by a conversation about what it means and what’s the correct way to say it.
A little bit of Internet research* settled the discussion.
Regardless of how it’s spelled, the expression comes from a combination of a French word and an English word: quatre, which means “four,” and corner.
It means diagonally across and can acceptably be spelled in several ways—kitty-corner, catty-corner, catercorner.
Example use: The hotel is kitty-corner to the grocery store.

*A breakdown of my research:
Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of kitty-corner shows all three.
Wiktionary shows the etymology and all three versions as well.
The Word Detective goes into a little more detail into this expression's past, if you're looking for more info.

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