K is for Kitty corner

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At the risk of sounding seriously American… wow, Google Earth is completely awesome! Here is a screenshot of my local town centre that I just took without having to move a muscle. Or at least none in my legs. Welcome to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and the perfect image to explain the (to me) bizzare term Kitty corner.

The image will already have indicated that this is not about cats. No. This is about direction. Because kitty corner (also catty corner or cater corner) came about through a basic mis-spelling from the French quatre, or quatre-cornered (as in four-cornered) and in effect translately into UK English as diagonally opposite. To put it in context a la “tomAAto, tomato, potAAto, potato” etc, where I’d say the clock is diagonally opposite the white building, an American would most likely say that clock is kitty corner to it. Weird but true.

Interestingly, this one is also used in Canada, land of mooses and maple syrup, and that’s where I heard it first. But what I like about it most is that it sounds like being about cats and then isn’t. It reminds me of this Picasso painting:


Why? Because it’s a painting with no cats in it, advertising a restaurant called El Quatre Gats (the four cats)  in Barcelona where they do not serve cat. At least they didn’t when I was there. Thankfully.


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