Letting the Cat out of the Bag

Apoplectic Apostrophes

Home cat in the garden After I published my post on the etymological origins of dogs last week, some of you cat people wanted to know about the origins of the word cat. Because I love my readers so much—and I’m a sucker for peer pressure—today I give you the history of the word cat.

But before we get into the nitty-gritty of our feline friends’ nomenclature, I should remind both cat and dog people that I am currently running a Kickstarter project, and one of the rewards is to have your dog or your cat immortalized as a character in my novel.

Alright, so let’s look at cats.

Our modern English word, cat, comes from the Old English catt, which was in general use by the eighth century. Catt, in turn, came from the West Germanic/Proto-Germanic word kattuz, which was recorded in the 400s. Around the same time, many similar…

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