Cataian to Catharine Wheels

Cataian (3 syl.). A native of Cathay or China; outlandish, a foreigner generally, a liar.

“I will not believe such a Cataian, though the
priest of the town commended him for a true
man.” - Shakespeare: Merry Wives, ii. l.
Catalogue Raisonne (French). A catalogue of books arranged under subjects.

Catamaran A scraggy old woman, a vixen; so called by a play on the first syllable. It properly means a raft consisting of three sticks, lashed together with ropes; used on the coasts of Coromandel and Madras.

“No, you old catamaran, though you pretend you never read novels. ...” - Thackeray: Lovel the Widower, chap. i.
Cataphrygians Christian heretics, who arose in the second century; so called because the first lived in Phrygia. They followed the errors of Montanus.

Catarrh A cold in the head. The word means a down-running; from the Greek katarrheo (to flow down).

Catastrophe (4 syl.). A turning upside down. The termination of a drama is always a “turning upside down” of the beginning of the plot. (Greek, kata-strepho.)

Catch    To lie upon the catch. To lie in wait “Quid me captas?”

“They sent certain of the Pharisees ... to catch Him in His words.” - Mark xii. Here the Greek word is, to take by hunting. They were to lie upon the catch till they found occasion against Him.
   You'll catch it. You'll get severely punished. Here “it” stands for the indefinite punishment, such as a whipping, a scolding, or other unpleasant consequence.

Catch a Crab (To). In rowing, is to be struck with the handle of one's oar; to fall backwards. This occurs when the rower leaves his oar too long in the water before repeating the stroke. In Italian granchio is a crab, and pigliar il granchia is to “catch a crab,” or a Tartar.

Catch a Tartar The biter bit. Grose says an Irish soldier in the Imperial service, in a battle against the Turks, shouted to his comrade that he had caught a Tartar. “Bring him along, then,” said his mate. “But he won't come,” cried Paddy. “Then come along yourself,” said his comrade. “Arrah!” replied Paddy, “I wish I could, but he won't let me.”

“We are like the man who boasted of having caught a Tartar, when the fact was that the Tartar had caught him.” - Cautions for the Times.
Catch as Catch can Get by hook or crook all you can.

“All must catch that catch can.” - Johnson: Rambler, No. 197.
Catch Me at It! Most certainly I shall never do what you say.

“ `Catch me going to London!' exclaimed Vixen.” - Miss Braddon: Vixen.
Catch the Speaker's Eye (To). To find the eye of the Speaker fixed on you; to be observed by the Speaker. In the House of Commons the member on whom the eye of the Speaker is fixed has the privilege of addressing the House.

“He succeeded in catching the Speaker's eye.” - A. Trollope.
Catch Out (To). In cricket, is to catch the ball of a batsman, whereby the striker is ruled out, that is, must relinquish his bat.

Catch your Hare (First). It is generally believed that “Mrs. Glasse,” in her Cookery Book, gave this direction; but the exact words are, “Take your hare when it is cased, and make a pudding, ... etc.” To “case” means to take off the skin. Thus, in All's Well that Ends Well, iii. 6, we have these words, “We'll make you some sport with the fox ere we case him.” Scatch also means to skin, and this word gave rise to the misquoted catch. Though scatch and case both mean to skin, yet the word used in the book referred to is case, not scatch. Mrs. Glasse was the penname of Dr. John Hill (1716-1775), author of The Cookery Book. (See Case .)
   Bracton, however (book iv. tit. i. chap. xxi. sec. 4), has these words: “Vulgariter dicitur, quod primo oportet cervum capere, et postea (cum captus fuerit) illum excoriare.”
    The Welsh word cach = ordure, dung, and to cach (cachu) would be to clean and gut the hare.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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