A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Words with Webster: Tail, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has an appropriate year-ending word to share. After that, it’s on to Friendly Fill-Ins!

Words with Webster

Words with Webster
Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “tail.” This is a word that is familiar to most of us cats. I bet you might be surprised at how old this word is though. We’ll get to that in a second, but first, of course I started by going to my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s, which said a tail is
the part of the vertebrate body posterior to the portion containing the body cavity:  (1) :  a rather slender more or less elongated process that arises from the trunk of many mammals immediately above the anus, contains the caudal vertebrae, and is often variously modified as a support, a balancer, or a grasping organ.
Hmm.… Sometimes I think I need an easier dictionary. Or maybe a tail is just more complicated than I thought it would be. Anyway, next I went to the Oxford English Dictionary, where I learned that “tail” appeared in print in English around AD 800. That means it’s over 1,200 years old, which makes it one of the oldest words I’ve ever done. This is the first quote I found for “tail”:
Oxan tægl bið scill[inges] weorð. (Laws of Ine c. 59)
I don’t really know what that means, so if you know, could you please tell me? I thought I should find a more, um, intelligible quote, so I picked this one from about 1727:
The Tayl of the South Fish [constellation]. (Isaac Newton, Chronol. Anc. Kingdoms Amended, i. 83)  
I hopped over to the Online Etymology Dictionary and learned that “tail” comes from Old English “tægl,” or “tægel” (as you can see from that first quote up above). That comes from Proto-Germanic “tagla-” and Old Norse “tagl.” In Germanic, the word seems to have meant “hairy tail” or “tuft of hair.”

So think about that next time you twitch your tail!

Cat tail, photo via Adobe Stock
Photo via Adobe Stock.

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins
And now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15andmeowing and McGuffy’s Reader. They are a fun way to learn a little bit about the authors of the blogs you read. The first two questions, answered by old SoLT this week, are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two, answered by Real Cat Paisley, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Old SoLT’s answers:
1. On New Year's Eve, I will go to bed at my regular time (8:30), read until I start to fall asleep (around 9:00), and then turn on a podcast to listen to until I actually do fall asleep (around 9:15).

2. One goal I have for 2018 is to start getting out to go birdwatching again. This is something I basically stopped doing because I have gotten so busy with working and blogging, but I miss the birds!

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. In 2017, I accomplished exactly everything I wanted to. I napped a lot. I scared the dog many, many times. I played with Mommy’s feet. I jumped on Mommy’s keyboard frequently while she was using it. I ate lots of treats. It has been a full year!

4. I was a very good kitty in 2017. Mommy said so!

Real Cat Paisley in her recovery gown


  1. Of course you were a good kitty! Mommy says she's not going to watch so many youtube videos before bed, because then she can't fall asleep and she's up for hours.

  2. WoW! I LOVE all the information about Tail! So very interesting! And Great Fill ins! And Mommy says the #2 is a tough one! She had forgotten how much time blogging takes when she was not blogging this year and is finding my blog (and the commenting) may be cut right back this year.

  3. Thank you for the tail lesson, very interesting. Thank you for participating in the fill-ins, great answers. I know you are always good Paisley. I hope you all have a Happy and Healthy 2018! XO

  4. Your Mommy is absolutely right, Paisley! I still love seeing you in that recovery gown :) Who knew such simple words have such a complex history?

  5. I love birdwatching too! My sister and I used to go together sometimes too, but then we both just got so busy. We really need to get back to it as well.

  6. Happy New Year! I am so very sorry to be so late. I had an "unplanned blogging break"
    Annie at ~McGuffy's Reader~