Difference between catty-corner or kitty-corner

In the realm of English language, the terms catty-corner and kitty-corner are intriguing examples of regional variations and colloquialisms that describe the same concept: something positioned diagonally across from something else. These terms are often used to describe the location of objects or places in relation to each other, especially in urban or suburban settings. Both terms are grammatically considered adjectives or adverbs, depending on their use in a sentence.

Quick Facts Table

Part of SpeechAdjective/AdverbAdjective/Adverb
UsagePrimarily in the USPrimarily in the US
VariationsCater-corner, caddy-cornerKatty-corner
DefinitionDiagonally oppositeDiagonally opposite

Difference Between Catty-Corner and Kitty-Corner

Definition of Catty-Corner

Catty-corner refers to something that is located diagonally across from something else. It is often used to describe the position of buildings, streets, or objects in relation to each other.

Definition of Kitty-Corner

Similarly, kitty-corner also means something that is diagonally across from something else. The term is interchangeable with catty-corner but might be preferred in certain dialects or regions.

Origin of Catty-Corner

  • The term catty-corner is believed to derive from the Middle French word quatre (four) and corner, indicating “four corners.”
  • Its usage in English has evolved over time, with variations such as “cater-corner” and “caddy-corner” appearing in different regions.

Origin of Kitty-Corner

  • Kitty-corner is a variant of catty-corner, possibly emerging from a dialectal interpretation or mishearing of “cater-corner.”
  • It shares a similar etymology but has become more prevalent in certain areas, suggesting a regional preference for the term.


  • Catty-corner is pronounced /ˈkatēˌkôrnər/, emphasizing a hard “c.”
  • Kitty-corner is pronounced /ˈkitēˌkôrnər/, starting with a softer “k” sound.

Comparing Catty-Corner and Kitty-Corner

PronunciationSlightly harder “c” soundBegins with a “k” sound
OriginMiddle French influenceDialectal variation
UsageCan be regionalCan be regional
FlexibilityUsed as adjective/adverbUsed as adjective/adverb

Both terms are used interchangeably across the United States, with preference varying by region. They both serve the same function in language, offering a descriptive way to explain the diagonal placement of objects or locations.

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Catty-Corner in Sentences

  1. The library is catty-corner to the high school. (Describes the diagonal position of the library in relation to the high school.)
  2. We parked catty-corner from the restaurant to get a good view. (Indicates the parking spot’s diagonal location across from the restaurant.)
  3. Their new house is catty-corner across the park. (Specifies the house’s location diagonally across the park.)
  4. I noticed a quaint café situated catty-corner from the bookstore. (Points out the café’s diagonal location in relation to the bookstore.)
  5. They’re building a new supermarket catty-corner to the mall. (Describes the supermarket’s construction site diagonal to the mall.)

Use of Kitty-Corner in Sentences

  1. She lives kitty-corner to the elementary school. (The home’s position is diagonal across from the school.)
  2. The gas station is kitty-corner from the bank. (Indicates the gas station’s location across the street from the bank, diagonally.)
  3. A beautiful garden is kitty-corner to our building. (Points out the garden’s diagonal position in relation to the building.)
  4. They opened a new art gallery kitty-corner to the city hall. (Describes the gallery’s position diagonal to the city hall.)
  5. You’ll find the coffee shop kitty-corner to the post office. (Specifies the coffee shop’s location diagonally across from the post office.)


Catty-corner and kitty-corner are fascinating examples of how language can evolve and diversify across regions, reflecting local dialects and preferences. Despite their slight differences in pronunciation and regional usage, both terms effectively communicate the idea of being diagonally across from something else. Understanding these nuances enriches our appreciation of language’s versatility and regional character.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Are “catty-corner” and “kitty-corner” interchangeable?
    • Yes, both terms are interchangeable and mean the same thing: positioned diagonally across from something else.
  • Is one term more correct than the other?
    • No, neither term is more correct; the preference for one over the other is largely regional.
  • Can these terms be used in formal writing?
    • While acceptable, it’s often better to use “diagonally opposite” in formal writing for clarity.
  • Do “catty-corner” and “kitty-corner” have variations?
    • Yes, variations include “cater-corner,” “caddy-corner,” and “katty-corner,” among others.
  • Is there a difference in usage based on location?
    • Yes, the preference for catty-corner vs. kitty-corner can vary by region, with some areas showing a strong preference for one term over the other.

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