Posted by: Jack Henry | November 7, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Kiddies, kitties, caddies, or catties

From: Kara Church
Sent: Tuesday, November 7, 2017 8:21 AM
Subject: Editor’s Corner: Kiddies, kitties, caddies, or catties

One of you asked me a few weeks ago about the term kiddie-corner. Because of the spelling, I was thinking it must be something like a corner where you sit Beaver Cleaver when he misbehaves in class. And then I realized it was the spelling that was throwing me off and you were asking about the term kitty-corner!

This expression (kitty-corner, catty-corner, and cater-corner) means diagonally opposite. According to Common Errors in English Usage, the term comes from misspelling the French word quatre (“four”) prefixed to “corner.” Although the word has nothing to do with cats or kittens, in various dialects all three spellings are acceptable: “catty,” “cater” or “kitty.”

(As the author notes, “caddy-corner” is not acceptable unless you are talking about somebody in a corner holding your golf bags, and I would add that “kiddie-corner” is not an appropriate spelling unless someone has been stuck in the corner for being naughty.)

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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