Word History


A hairy cat?

• Do you have one? It’s probably just an old caterpillar. Now don’t get insulted. The word caterpillar comes from an old French word, chatepelose, meaning “hairy cat.” (Word Works Kaye 61)

I got a kick out of these in Word Works and wanted to include a few of them here from time to time. 🙂

3 Responses to “Word History”

  1. Anna says:

    To answer your question, we don’t have an actual hairy cat, but our grapevine (Aussie summer) is currently hosting many chatepeloses. When my daughter was little, she called them “tatta-pittas”, and more recently she has loved bringing them indoors to munch grape leave inside net-topped jars, so she can watch them metamorphosise.

    Let us not pluto the common caterpillar. Vive la chateplose!

  2. Anna says:

    To explain the end of my earlier post …

    I LOVE words, and in an effort to (hopefully just a little bit) excite other family members, I recently signed us up to Dr Goodword, a daily word from http://www.alphadictionary.com.

    I was fascinated to receive today’s word, “pluto”, and learn that since the downgrading of the formerly-known-as-a-planet Pluto, “pluto” is now being used as a verb.

    According to the American Dialect Society, the transitive verb now means “to demote or devalue”.

    I wonder if its usage will become common?

  3. Julie Bogart says:

    That is hilarious! You are a treasure trove of interesting word facts! 🙂 Thanks. I am going to try to think of a use for “pluto” now in verb form. Too fun!