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, January 12, 2018

Words with Webster: Ginger, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

Words with Webster #catwords #wordhistories
We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has a colorful word to share. After that, it’s on to Friendly Fill-Ins!

Words with Webster

Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “ginger.” I was having a lot of trouble picking a word for today, but then I found out that this is International Kiss a Ginger Day, and there was my word! Anyway, I looked in my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s, and found out that ginger is “a light reddish or reddish-brown color.” It didn’t say anything about cats specifically, which was kind of disappointing.

But then I went to the Oxford English Dictionary, which did say that “ginger” can mean “a cat with primarily orange-coloured fur, typically marked with stripes.” This meaning has been around since the 1870s, as we can see from this quote:
There is a grey tabby.., a jet black, and a ginger. (Once a Week, May 2, 1874, 396/2)
That’s fine, but the word “ginger” actually goes back a lot further, just with different meanings. Of course originally it referred to the root of the ginger plant. That meaning (with a different spelling) goes waaaay back. Like, to at least 1150:
Nim hwytne stor and senep and gingiber. (Peri Didaxeon 11)
I didn’t understand what that sentence meant, so I found this other quote from Shakespeare:
Yes by S. Anne, and Ginger shall bee hotte y' th mouth too. (Twelfth Night II.iii.112, a.1626 [1623])
Next, it was on to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Turns out “ginger” has traveled a long road, coming to English from Late Latin “gingiber,” Latin “zingiberi,” Greek “zingiberis,” Prakrit “singabera,” and Sanskrit “srngaveram,” a word that seems to refer to the root’s shape. Or, as the Oxford English Dictionary says, maybe “ginger” ultimately came from an unidentified southeast Asian language from a very long time ago.

One thing that still confuses me is why “ginger” refers to orange cats, when all the ginger I’ve ever seen has been sort of creamy-yellow. Oh well.
Ginger cat with book and glasses. via Storyblocks.
This ginger cat is probably looking up "ginger."
Photo via Storyblocks.com.

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 Real Cat Paisley this week, are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two, answered by old SoLT, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:

1. I would like to ask Mommy why do we have to have a dog? Life was purrfect with just us cats!

2. My favorite fast food restaurant is … Eww. I don’t eat fast food because it’s not good for me. (Okay, don’t tell Mommy, but I like to lick French fries, and I don’t care where they’re from!)

Old SoLT’s answers:

3. If I could go to any concert of someone still performing, it would be Willie Nelson.

4. My Winter pastime is usually staying inside and drinking warm beverages, because so far this winter has just been too cold for me!


  1. Happy to see Webster join us today! I saw Willie twice, and am very thankful. I would love to see him, again, too! He plays with such feeling. No one plays like him, either. Thanks for being a part of the Fill-Ins. Hugs.

  2. Perfect word for today Webster.We kissed our ginger, Prancie already. Thank you both for participating in the fill-ins, great answers. I am with you on #1 :) Our temps finally warmed up today the 50's today, what a difference from negative numbers last week. Have a nice weekend! XO

  3. Orange kitties are called 'ginger' because they are full of zip and sass...just like ginger zings your mouth!

  4. GASP! a dog??? I thought all orange cats were named Rusty. MOL! I love any kind of food that TW doesn't cook.

  5. I HATE winter! And this one's been brutal with the temperatures. The only good thing about that is that it's been too cold to snow! Gingers are so handsome ... and Webster, you're a case in point!

  6. That's such a cute picture with the cat reading! Paisley, wanna help us set up International Kiss a Tortie Day? (PS: I've seen Willie Nelson!)

  7. Good job with the fill in's - We love "Ginger Cats" - There are 3 of them here.
    Willie would be a good one to hear in concert.

  8. Webster! We LOVE reading about the word Ginger! Mom is really into the entomology of words and had not looked up ginger! And I must say you are a glorious Ginger. We also LOVE your Friday Fill-Ins! Willie Nelson would bw wonderful to hear live!
    Marv & Mom

  9. We used to have a cat that we called taffy colored (and his name was Taffy), but he might have been closer to the color of actual ginger!
    We agree with Old SoLT - this winter has been far too cold so far! We did get a break this past week though, it warmed up quite a bit. Now it's colder again though, but not quite as cold as before so we hope it stays this way!