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, July 13, 2018

Words with Webster: Panther

We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has another wild 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 “panther.” I picked this word because one of the comments to my last post asked, “If leopards aren’t panthers, then what are?” That’s a great question, and we wondered about that ourselves. So of course I looked it up, and Webster’s dictionary says “panther” means
(1): a leopard of a supposed exceptionally large fierce variety (2): a leopard of the black color phase. (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, unabridged, online)
A panther can also be a cougar or a jaguar, again according to Webster’s.

Next I used Mommy’s library account to look at the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines “panther” like this:
Originally: an exotic spotted big cat that was believed to be distinct from the leopard. Now: a leopard (Panthera pardus), esp. a melanistic one.
The OED also says that “panther” can mean a cougar or jaguar, although it indicates the “jaguar” meaning is obsolete, which seems weird to Mommy because she has seen “panther” used to refer to a melanistic jaguar a whole bunch of times.

I found this fun quote from 1894 to make things more confusing:
The panther was long called a “tyger” in the Carolinas, and a “lyon” elsewhere. (Century magazine, April, 849)
This quote uses "panther" to refer to the cougar, puma, mountain lion, or whatever other synonym you can think of.

Anyway, “panther” has been around since the early 13th century, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. It came from the Old French word pantere, which was from the Latin panthera, which was from the Greek panther (“panther, leopard”). Some of you may recognize panthera as the genus name of several big cat species: the lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard, and snow leopard.

A melanistic leopard, aka panther
This cat could be called a panther (it's a melanistic leopard), but so could a few other cats.
Photo by Davidvraju [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons.
There are lots of quotes for this word, so I picked just a couple:
The leoparde or spotted panthere…signifieth the kingdom of great Alexander. (George Joye, 1545, The Exposition of Daniel the Prophete, 1st ed., vii. f. 98)
In the twelfth edition of the Systema Naturæ the Panther and Leopard seem to be confounded by Linnæus himself, who seems to have considered them as the same species. (George Shaw and James Francis Stephens, 1800, General Zoology, 1st ed., I. ii. 349)

In conclusion, a panther is a leopard … except when it is something else.

You humans just can’t decide what to call cats, can you?

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-InsAnd now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15 and Meowing and The Four-Legged Furballs. Old SoLT did the first two this week, and Real Cat Paisley did the next two.

Old SoLT’s answers:
1. As a child, I feared ghosts, and I thought everyplace we lived was haunted.

2. Friday the 13th is a movie I remember watching on cable when I was in high school. It scared me then and still kind of freaks me out today. I don’t have any superstitions about the actual day.

 Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. I think tortitude is my best quality.

4. You can’t go wrong with taking a nap. Napping solves most problems and gives you more energy to play.


  1. Hey, I think Orbit was a melanistic leopard. And I agree with Paisley's #3 answer.

  2. Who would have known? Thanks for telling us this information. We like Paisely's answer for number 3.

  3. Thanks for the follow-up!

    "You humans just can’t decide what to call cats, can you?"

    I call them for breakfast & supper.

  4. We call Manny and CB 'housepanthers', so whether we are correct or not, we'll still call 'em that! Thanks for the info! And about being in a haunted house; our parents built our home when we were children, but it always had a 'vibe'. We talked about it when we were kids and as grownups. Now, my sister and her family live in the same house, and they've all had experiences! So, it doesn't have to be an old house; a new one can be haunted too! We never had anything bad happen, just so you know. It was a loving spirit.

  5. Black panthers are beautiful creatures. :)

    I saw Friday the 13th, too, and it gave me nightmares. I used to love horror movies, though. I saw Halloween, too, and Ghost Story, and all sorts of cool movies. I don't like that kind of movie so much anymore.

    Naps can be great, but I don't like sleeping. I'd rather be awake, but sometimes my body insists otherwise. :)

    Have a blessed weekend.

  6. Thanks for all the information Webster. You really got to the bottom of it and provided us with excellent information. Panthers are really beautiful. We also have to agree with Paisley with taking naps. A good nap will always refresh you and then you can be back to playing in no time. Have a wonderful weekend.
    World of Animals

  7. Your word lessons always make me feel so smart. I need all the help I can get in that realm, so thank you! And thank you for joining in on the Friendly Fill-Ins! I'm kind of a sucker for horror films, and Friday the 13th is one of those I try to watch every Halloween. Paisley, your tortitude makes you purrfect! And you sure are right about naps. Zzzzzzz. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

  8. Wow, that's kind of confusing, isn't it? Paisley, your answers are purrfect!

  9. I call my black cats , house panthers :) Thank you both for these great fill-in answers. I only saw Friday the 13th about 5 years ago, but I found it scary. And yes, Paisley tortitude is good and so are naps. Have a great weekend! XO

  10. I have tortitude and I'm a tuxie. I use it well. Amen to your #4.

  11. The Friday the 13th movies were cool, at first, and then they just kept trying to make more of them and the quality went down. I grew up in a haunted house. It was fun. Have a blessed week.

  12. LOL we don't watch horror movies they are too creepy by half!

  13. Great answers and an enthusiastic two paws up for #4! Napping is an art!
    Purrs & Head Bonks,
    Tucker and ThenTribe of Five