In a poem named Choosing Their Names by Thomas Hood I found the word scratchaway which according to the summary means quarrelsome.

One is a tortoise-shell, yellow and black,
With plenty of white about him;
If you tease him, at once he sets up his back:
He’s a quarrelsome one, ne’er doubt him.
I think we shall call him this –
I think we shall call him that –
Now don’t you think that Scratchaway
Is a nice name for a cat?

But I found nothing about this on googling this.


The cat names in the poem are invented by the writer; you will not find them in a dictionary. You will, I hope, know that angry cats scratch with their claws?


No, "scratchaway" does not mean "quarrelsome". The cat names don't really have any meaning in everyday use. But we can attempt to deconstruct them using basic English patterns and see an association.

The writer is describing that cat as quarrelsome (~ disposed to quarreling, fighting). What do cats do when they fight? They scratch (~ attack with their claws). So, we get the idea that this cat tends to scratch.

Furthermore, away has a kind of deliberate, eager, or steady feeling to it, as in

away adverb
6 : steadily onward : uninterruptedly
// clocks ticking away

away adverb
6 incessantly or relentlessly; repeatedly:
He kept hammering away.

We combine these two and come up with Scratchaway.

And just to address the other name, the other cat is described as quickly flying into a temper (~ quickly and suddenly becoming angry). We associate having a (bad) temper, or broadly anger, with fire or heat

2 habit of mind, especially with respect to irritability or patience, outbursts of anger, or the like; disposition:
an even temper.
3 heat of mind or passion, shown in outbursts of anger, resentment, etc.

We can further associate this feeling with a pepper (~ spicy, hot, heat, fire, etc.).

A pot is a cooking container/utensil, but we could use pot to describe something being contained in a pot, or as if in a pot:

  • literally: There is a pot of peppers on the stove (= There are peppers in a pot and the pot is on the stove).
  • figuratively: He is a walking pot of peppers* (= He is very rageful).

We combine these two and get Pepperpot.

Note that these names are odd, uncommon names for pets. They were crafted for poetic effect. I wouldn't take them seriously.

Also, compared to your previous question regarding Sootikin (the third cat), using away and pot in this manner to construct names is uncommon. At least -i/y and -kin are commonly, or somewhat commonly, used to create pet names (though, -ikin is possible, but less common).

*Constructed for illustrative purposes. Not actually a common saying.

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