Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Katzenjammer – Wordplay Wednesday™ 07/22/2020

Cats in Jammies?  

Love the mental image, but your cat might put up a pretty loud fuss about it. Kind of like you the morning after bingeing on a few too many libations while streaming TV shows … Wahhhhh, why did I do that?

KATZENJAMMER (ʹkat-sɘn-,ja-mɘr; 1849) n. – 1) hangover; 2) distress; 3) a discordant clamor. [WW #278]

In my humble wordsmith opinion, because of its German partial word origin (thought to be German and Holland Dutch by some sources)“katze” translates to cat—for English purposes I’d link katzenjammer more to its third definition, “a discordant clamor,” which cats are known for, rather than “hangover.” “Distress” comes closer, but caterwaul comes to mind, “1) to make a harsh cry; 2) to protest or complain noisily”—again, frequently linked to cats.

However, most of us 39ers (39 and Holding folks) and cartoon aficionados know katzenjammer  from a popular late 19th century comic strip, Katzenjammer Kids, c. 1897-2006. Created by Rudolph Dirks (a German immigrant) in 1897, the American comic strip was later drawn by Harold Knerr (from 1914 to 1949).
The rebellious Katzenjammer Kids, who were always in trouble with the authorities, published its last strip on January 1, 2006, but you can still enjoy it in reprints by King Features Syndicate. Dirks/Knerr’s Kids is the oldest comic strip still in syndication and holds the distinction of longest-running …

What I didn’t know until now, is katzenjammer was a word in its own right quite some time before Dirks’ comic strip. There are reported word origins as early as 1821, but the dictionary notes katzenjammer putting up a clamor to be included in the English language tome, established with an 1849 origin.

Word Challenge: KATZENJAMMER. However you decide to use it, have fun with this noisy word, as you fit katzenjammer into your week of cacophonous writings and clever conversations.

Learning knows no prejudices or boundaries, and it isn’t fattening! Expanding your mind is a no-cost, simple joy. Do you feel that way too? What’s your inspiration? Share your creative genius and Wordplay Wednesday comments below.

Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle) 

[LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and an author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books in her Blast from Your Past series (of three) about pioneering R&R Radio DJs. True behind-the-mic tales make GREAT Holiday and anytime Gifts available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon … The Psychedelic Seventies!]

*LR Notes: 1) Dictionary definitions are quoted from Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Yes, we sometimes present them out of “official” context—but that’s half the fun! Think of it as “creative context.” 2) a] Recent dictionary additions to definitions include a date of first use, if known; b] words in small caps indicate “see also.” 3) Neither I (LinDee Rochelle) nor Penchant for Penning are responsible for how you use information found here, that may result in legal action.


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