Correcting my limitless lack of knowledge, one post at a time.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
As I noted a couple of posts back, I got thrown a bit in figuring out "tantamount", making it harder than it had to be, by conflating it with words like "catamount". Catamount is one of those words that you come across really only by reading, and, I would venture, not by a steady diet of contemporary fiction. So much so that I don't think I could come up with a good example off the top of my head. From my vague memory of context, though, I'm going to venture that this is some kind of wild cat, maybe like a bobcat or linx. Is it something so simple as 'cat of the mountains'?
Unfortunately, I seem to have this mixed up in my mind with "catamite". I have an either vaguer sense of what that means, but I'm pretty sure it's not something you will come upon while traipsing through the mountains.
...Yes, in this instance, I was pretty much right. It seems to refer to any of a number of small, shorttailed wild cats, and in this category bobcats and lynx are included. And yes, it is a contraction of 'cat of the mountain'. It's not, like 'tantamount,' a Latin compound at all. In etymology, beware of resemblances.