khan (n.) Look up khan at
c. 1400, from Turkic, literally "lord, prince," contraction of khaqan "ruler, sovereign." Known in Europe since 13c.; compare Medieval Latin chanis, Greek kanes, Old French chan.
khanate (n.) Look up khanate at
1799, from khan + -ate (1).
khedive (n.) Look up khedive at
Turkish viceroy of Egypt, 1867, from French khédive, from Turkish khidiv, from Persian khidiw "prince," derivative of khuda "master, prince," from Old Persian khvadata- "lord," from compound *khvat-data-, literally "created from oneself," from khvat- (from PIE *swe-tos "from oneself," ablative of root *s(w)e-; see idiom) + data- "created."
Khmer Look up Khmer at
1867, native name. Khmer Rouge, communist party of Cambodia, literally "Red Khmer," is with French rouge (see rouge (n.)).
kibble (n.) Look up kibble at
"ground-up meat used as dog food, etc.," apparently from the verb meaning "to bruise or grind coarsely," attested from 1790, first in milling, but of unknown origin. The same or an identical word was used in the coal trade in the late 19c. and in mining from the 1670s for "bucket used to haul up ore or waste."
kibbutz (n.) Look up kibbutz at
"Israeli collective settlement," 1931, from Modern Hebrew qibbus "gathering," earlier "a gathering together," verbal noun from root of qibbetz "he gathered together." Plural is kibbutzim. Related to Arabic quabada "he grasped, seized."
kibitz (v.) Look up kibitz at
1927, from Yiddish kibitsen "to offer gratuitous advice as an outsider," from German kiebitzen "to look on at cards, to kibitz," originally in thieves' cant "to visit," from Kiebitz, name of a shore bird (European pewit, lapwing) with a folk reputation as a meddler, from Middle High German gibitz "pewit," imitative of its cry. Young lapwings are proverbially precocious and active, and were said to run around with half-shells still on their heads soon after hatching.
kibitzer (n.) Look up kibitzer at
1927, agent noun from kibitz.
kibosh (n.) Look up kibosh at
1836, kye-bosk, in British English slang phrase put the kibosh on, of unknown origin, despite intense speculation. The earliest citation is in Dickens. Looks Yiddish, but its original appearance in a piece set in the heavily Irish "Seven Dials" neighborhood in the West End of London seems to argue against this. One candidate is Irish caip bháis, caipín báis "cap of death," sometimes said to be the black cap a judge would don when pronouncing a death sentence, but in other sources identified as a gruesome method of execution "employed by Brit. forces against 1798 insurgents" [Bernard Share, "Slanguage, A Dictionary of Irish Slang"]. Or the word might somehow be connected with Turkish bosh (see bosh).
kick (v.) Look up kick at
late 14c., "to strike out with the foot" (earliest in biblical phrase now usually rendered as kick against the pricks), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Norse kikna "bend backwards, sink at the knees." "The doubts OED has about the Scandinavian origin of kick are probably unfounded" [Liberman]. Related: Kicked; kicking.

Figurative sense of "complain, protest, rebel against" (late 14c.) probably is from the Bible verse. Slang sense of "die" is attested from 1725 (kick the wind was slang for "be hanged," 1590s; see also bucket). Meaning "to end one's drug habit" is from 1936. Kick in "contribute" is from 1908; kick out "expel" is from 1690s. To kick oneself in self-reproach is from 1891. The children's game of kick the can is attested from 1891.
kick (n.) Look up kick at
1520s, from kick (v.). Meaning "recoil (of a gun) when fired" is from 1826. Meaning "surge or fit of pleasure" (often as kicks) is from 1941; originally literally, "stimulation from liquor or drugs" (1844). The kick "the fashion" is c. 1700.
kick-off (n.) Look up kick-off at
also kickoff, kick off, 1857, "first kick in a football match," from kick (v.) + off. Figurative sense of "start, beginning event" is from 1875.
kickback (n.) Look up kickback at
also kick-back, c. 1900 in various mechanical senses, from kick (v.) + back (adv.). By 1926 in a slang sense of "be forced to return pelf, pay back to victims," which was extended to illegal partial give-backs of government-set wages that were extorted from workers by employers. Hence sense of "illegal or improper payment" (1932).
kickboxing (n.) Look up kickboxing at
also kick-boxing, 1968 (as one word, from 1971), from kick + boxing. Related: Kickbox (v.); kickboxer.
kicker (n.) Look up kicker at
1570s, agent noun from kick (v.).
kickshaw (n.) Look up kickshaw at
late 16c., "a fancy dish in cookery" (especially a non-native one), from English pronunciation of French quelque chose "a something, a little something."
kicksie-wicksie (n.) Look up kicksie-wicksie at
a fanciful word for "wife" in Shakespeare ("All's Well," II iii.297), 1601, apparently a perversion of kickshaw "a fancy dish in cookery."
kickstand (n.) Look up kickstand at
"metal support for holding a bicycle upright," 1936, from kick (v.) + stand (n.). So called for the method of putting it in position.
kicky (adj.) Look up kicky at
1790, "clever; showy, gaudy," from kick (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "full of thrills, providing kicks" is from 1968.
kid (n.) Look up kid at
c. 1200, "the young of a goat," from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse kið "young goat," from Proto-Germanic *kidjom (cognates: Old High German kizzi, German kitze, Danish and Swedish kid). Extended meaning of "child" first recorded as slang 1590s, established in informal usage by 1840s. Applied to skillful young thieves and pugilists since at least 1812. Kid stuff "something easy" is from 1913 (The phrase was in use about that time in reference to vaudeville acts or advertisements featuring children, and to children-oriented features in newspapers). Kid glove "a glove made of kidskin leather" is from 1680s; sense of "characterized by wearing kid gloves," therefore "dainty, delicate" is from 1856.
kid (v.) Look up kid at
"tease playfully," 1839, earlier, in thieves' cant, "to coax, wheedle, hoax" (1811), probably from kid (n.), via notion of "treat as a child, make a kid of." Related: Kidded; kidding.
Kidderminster Look up Kidderminster at
type of carpet, 1832, named for the town in England where it was manufactured.
kiddo (n.) Look up kiddo at
1893, familiar form of kid (n.) in the "child" sense.
kiddy (n.) Look up kiddy at
also kiddie; 1570s as "young goat;" 1780 as "flash thief;" 1889 as "child," from various senses of kid (n.) + -y (3). Related: Kiddies.
kidnap (v.) Look up kidnap at
1680s, compound of kid (n.) "child" and nap "snatch away," variant of nab; originally "steal children to provide servants and laborers in the American colonies." Related: Kidnapped; kidnapping.
kidnapper (n.) Look up kidnapper at
1670s; see kidnap (though this word is attested a few years earlier).
kidney (n.) Look up kidney at
early 14c., of unknown origin, originally kidenere, perhaps a compound of Old English cwið "womb" (see bowel) + ey "egg" (see egg (n.)) in reference to the shape of the organ. Figurative sense of "temperament" is from 1550s. Kidney bean is from 1540s, so called for its shape.
kielbasa (n.) Look up kielbasa at
1951, from Polish kiełbasa "sausage" (Russian kolbasa, Serbo-Croatian kobasica); perhaps from Turkish kulbasti, "grilled cutlet," literally "pressed on the ashes." Or perhaps, via Jewish butchers, from Hebrew kolbasar "all kinds of meat."
Kiev Look up Kiev at
Ukrainian Kyyiv, of unknown origin; explanation from the name of a founding prince named Kiy probably is folk etymology. Related: Kievan.
kike (n.) Look up kike at
derogatory slang for "a Jew," by 1901, American English; early evidence supports the belief that it was used at first among German-American Jews in reference to newcomers from Eastern Europe, perhaps because the names of the latter ended in -ki or -ky.
There is no charity organization of any kind here [a small city in Pennsylvania] and, what is sadder to relate, the Jews in this city will not form one; that is, if the present temper of the people can be used as a criterion. The German Jews are bitterly opposed to the "Kikes," as they persist in calling the Russian Jews .... ["Report of the National Conference of Jewish Charities in the United States," Cleveland, 1912]
Philip Cowen, first editor of "The American Hebrew," suggests a source in Yiddish kikel "circle." According to him, Jewish immigrants, ignorant of writing with the Latin alphabet, signed their entry forms with a circle, eschewing the "X" as a sign of Christianity. On this theory, Ellis Island immigration inspectors began calling such people kikels, and the term shortened as it passed into general use.
kil Look up kil at
first element in many Celtic place names, literally "cell (of a hermit), church, burial place," from Gaelic and Irish -cil, from cill, gradational variant of ceall "cell, church, burial place," from Latin cella (see cell).
Kilimanjaro Look up Kilimanjaro at
mountain in Africa, from Swahili, literally "mountain of the god of cold," from kilima "mountain" + njaro "god of cold."
Kilkenny Look up Kilkenny at
county in Leinster, Ireland. The county is named for its town, from Irish Cill Chainnigh "Church of (St.) Kenneth." The story of the Kilkenny cats, a pair of which fought until only their tails were left, is attested from 1807.
kill (v.) Look up kill at
c. 1200, "to strike, hit, beat, knock;" c. 1300, "to deprive of life," perhaps from an unrecorded variant of Old English cwellan "to kill" (see quell), but the earliest sense suggests otherwise. Sense in to kill time is from 1728. Related: Killed; killing. Kill-devil, colloquial for "rum," especially if new or of bad quality, is from 1630s.
kill (n.2) Look up kill at
"stream," 1630s, American English, from Dutch kil, from Middle Dutch kille "riverbed," especially in place names (such as Schuylkill). A common Germanic word, the Old Norse form, kill, meant "bay, gulf" and gave its name to Kiel Fjord on the German Baltic coast and thence to Kiel, the port city founded there in 1240.
kill (n.1) Look up kill at
early 13c., "a stroke, a blow," from kill (v.). Meaning "act of killing" is from 1814; that of "a killed animal" is from 1878. Lawn tennis serve sense is from 1903. The kill "the knockout" is boxing jargon, 1950.
killable (adj.) Look up killable at
1755, from kill (v.) + -able.
killdeer (n.) Look up killdeer at
also killdee, 1731, American English, species of North American ring-plover, the name imitative of its cry.
killer (n.) Look up killer at
late 15c., agent noun from kill (v.). But a surname, Ric[hard] Le Kyller is attested from 1288. Figurative use from 1550s. Meaning "impressive person or thing" is by 1900 (as an adjective, 1979); reduplicated form killer-diller attested by 1938. Killer whale is from 1725; killer instinct is attested from 1931, originally in boxing.
killing (adj.) Look up killing at
mid-15c., present participle adjective from kill (v.). Meaning "very funny" is from 1844. As a noun, "large profit," 1886, American English slang.
killjoy (n.) Look up killjoy at
also kill-joy, 1776, from kill (v.) + joy. Formerly used with other stems (such as kill-courtesy "boorish person," kill-cow "bully, big man," etc.).
kiln (n.) Look up kiln at
Old English cyln, cylen "kiln, oven," from Latin culina "kitchen, cooking stove," unexplained variant of coquere "to cook" (see cook (n.)). Old Norse kylna, Welsh cilin probably are from English.
kilo (n.) Look up kilo at
1870, shortening of kilogram. Slang shortening key (in drug trafficking) is attested from 1968.
kilo- Look up kilo- at
word-forming element meaning "one thousand," introduced in French 1795, when the metric system was officially adopted there, from Greek khilioi "thousand," of unknown origin.
kilobyte (n.) Look up kilobyte at
1970, from kilo- + byte.
kilogram (n.) Look up kilogram at
"one thousand grams," 1797, from French kilogramme (1795); see kilo- + gram.
kilojoule (n.) Look up kilojoule at
1893, from kilo- + joule.
kiloliter (n.) Look up kiloliter at
1810, from French kilolitre; see kilo- + liter.
kilolitre (n.) Look up kilolitre at
chiefly British English spelling of kiloliter; also see -re.
kilometer (n.) Look up kilometer at
1810, from French kilomètre (1795); see kilo- + meter (n.2). Related: Kilometric.