AskDefine | Define katzenjammer

Dictionary Definition



1 disagreeable aftereffects from the use of drugs (especially alcohol) [syn: hangover]
2 loud confused noise from many sources [syn: hubbub, uproar, brouhaha]

User Contributed Dictionary



German Katzenjammer ("the wailing of cats"), hangover; a compound formed from Katzen (plural of Katze), cat + jammer, wailing or distress.


IPA: /'kætsənʤæmə/


  1. A hangover
    • 1936: In those days a still-birth brought as high as ten dollars and after riding the shoot-the-chutes we always left a little stale beer for the morning because the finest thing in the world for Katzenjammer is a glass of stale beer. — Henry Miller, Black Spring
  2. The jitters
  3. Bewilderment
  4. Depression
  5. Discord


  1. raucous
    • A once popular American comic strip was "The Katzenjammer Kids."

Extensive Definition

For the comic strip, see Katzenjammer Kids
The word katzenjammer is German, used to indicate a general state of confusion or bewilderment. It's commonly used in reference to a hangover. The literal translation is "wailing cat."
Katzenjammer are a British piano musical comedy duo comprising Steven Worbey and Kevin Farrell.


Katzenjammer''' was conceived in Summer 2003 over several bottles of Chardonnay by Royal College of Music graduates Worbey and Farrell. Their unique performance twist of both playing the same piano at the same time was, in part, due to the simple financial constraints of student life. The luxury of two pianos (and even two piano stools) being beyond their means.
The Katzenjammer act has been compared to Victor Borge, as the pair often use their own comic compositions as well as parody a wide range of musical styles from The Spice Girls to Ragtime. A key part of their live show is a projected close-up image of the piano keyboard so the audience can see the tangle of hands and arms during their performance.
Their first recorded performance as Katzenjammer was in 2004 at St John's Chapel, London, an old church near the Houses of Parliament now used as a venue for classical music. From these modest beginnings, the duo have played the Royal Opera House, the Royal Festival Hall and Blackpool Grand Theatre and also appear regularly on the QE2 and Queen Mary 2. They have also twice appeared to critical acclaim at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe.

Kevin Farrell

After graduating from the Royal College of Music in 1992, Farrell went on to work on the Emmy award winning show Concerto with Dudley Moore. He toured with the English National Ballet and was then commissioned to write the music for the Jiving Lindy Hoppers' jazz ballet, Jungles of the Cities. As a composer he has written a children's ballet The Water Babies and the music for the notorious play The Dead Monkey starring David Soul. He has also written music for over 80 documentaries and 4 feature films including Death of a Son starring Lynn Redgrave and Never Play with the Dead. He has regularly appeared on Liberty Radio, LBC radio and BBC London.

Steven Worbey

Worbey studied piano performance at the Royal College of Music between 1990 and 1995 with Phyllis Sellick and Yonty Solomon. During this time he won a scholarship to study at Post-graduate level with the pianist Peter Katin (with whom he performed in a series of piano duet concerts at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon). Since graduating, Steven toured extensively throughout the UK giving piano recitals and chamber music concerts. Having always been interested in theatre, Steven has appeared in various theatre and television roles, including When Pigs Fly (Arts Theatre) and You Couldn't Make it Up (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2002). He is also the voice of Pod in the children's cartoon Pod's Mission for the BBC.


  • Farrell & Worbey have a pet dog named Margaret, who featured in a silent-movie parody called Margaret come home shown during some of their theatre performances in 2006.
  • Google's German-English translation tool reports Katzenjammer as meaning cat misery" or "hangover
  • Katzenjammer is the surname of Tamsin Greig's character "Fran" in the British sitcom Black Books that ran on Channel 4 in the UK for three seasons between 2000 and 2004.
  • Californian Stoner Rock band Kyuss were originally called Katzenjammer before changing their name to Sons of Kyuss and then again to Kyuss. The Band also have a song named Katzenjammer.


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