With Davis Square in Somerville, MA, it is quite difficult to find the kitty-corner, pic:

I explained this word to my son recently who thought it was very funny (he is six so cracking up over words like kitty-corner is okay).  It is a bit of a strange, funny word but also very useful so here is what a kitty-corner (or catty-corner) is:

It is the corner which is diagonally opposite to the point of reference.  So if you are standing at the south-east corner of a plaza or an intersection then the north-west corner would be the kitty-corner.

For example:

“Do you know where Jane’s bakery is?”

“Sure, it is on Main St and First, on the kitty-corner of the public library.”

Although the words brings to mind little cats and raises the question what they have to do with anything, the little fur-balls have nothing to do with the origin of the word.  It seems to derive from misspelling in English of the French word quatre (“four”) prefixed to “corner.”

Sometimes misspellings result in funny expressions.


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