Sunday, 2 March 2014

Caterwaul - The Cat That's Got the Scream

A caterwauling cat
Photo by Mingo Hagen

CATERWAUL

Verb & Noun. Late Middle English.
[from CAT noun + -er- connective + imitative final element.]

A1(a) verb intrans. Of a cat: make the screaming characteristic of a cat on heat. LME

A1(b) transferred. Make a discordant screaming noise. L16

A2 verb intrans. Be in heat; behave lasciviously; pursue the opposite sex. derogatory. archaic. M16

B noun. A screaming noise (as) of a cat during the mating season. E18

Also:
caterwauler noun (rare). E17

Ailurophiles love cats - I get that; they're willing to put up with their supposedly selfish, supercilious, egotistical and generally catty nature because ... well ... because they're ailurophiles. However, nothing sparks spite-filled ailurophobia quicker than a caterwauling queen advertising herself to the neighbourhood toms outside your bedroom window at night while you're trying to sleep. Once you've got over the initial shock of thinking someone's being murdered on your own doorstep (and being bally annoying as they go about it), you're left to contend with the most piercing, unnerving, ugly and downright infuriating sound in the whole animal kingdom. And do you know who I blame? The toms - if they'd just stop responding to the (drama) queens' discordant histrionics, this phenomenon would go away. But they don't. Because they're men. And men are idiots. Still, it has given us a witheringly caustic word to use if you don't like someone's singing - as in really don't like it, which, quite frankly, isn't worth it.

Do you get caterwauling queens outside your window?

If not, why not, and how can I get mine to come over to you at night?

Do please leave your most off-key comments in the box below.  

30 comments:

  1. Comparing this picture with Friday's leads me to suspect the cat just dropped it's ice cream.

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  2. And how and how exactly do you pronounce that?!

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    Replies
    1. The second syllable is wall, rhyming with ball, fall, call, etc, so the whole word rhymes with 'splatter-wall'.

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