Etymology
Advertisement
kick (v.)

late 14c., "to strike out with the foot," 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]. Older sources guessed it to be from Celtic. Earliest in the biblical phrase that is now usually rendered as kick against the pricks. Related: Kicked; kicking.

Transitive sense "give a blow with the foot" is from 1580s. Meaning "to strike in recoiling" (as a gun, etc.) is from 1832. Figurative sense of "complain, protest, manifest strong objection, rebel against" (late 14c.) probably is at least in part 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 "to break (something) down" is from 1876, sense of "contribute" is from 1908, American English; kick out "expel" is from 1690s. To kick around (intransitive) "wander about" is from 1839; transitive sense of "treat contemptuously" is from 1871 on the notion of "kick in all directions." To be kicked upstairs "removed from action by ostensible promotion" is from 1750. To kick oneself in self-reproach is from 1891. The children's game of kick the can is attested from 1891.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
kick (n.)

1520s, "a blow or thrust with the foot," 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 "stimulation from liquor or drugs" (1844). Hence kickster "one who lives for kicks" (1963). The kick "the fashion" is from c. 1700. Kicks in slang also has meant "trousers" (1700), "shoes" (1904).

Related entries & more 
kick-ball (n.)
also kickball, children's game, 1854; see kick (v.) + ball (n.1).
Related entries & more 
kick-off (n.)
also kickoff, kick off, 1857, "first kick in a football match," from kick (v.) + off (adv.). The verbal phrase also is from 1857. Figurative sense of "start, beginning event" is from 1875.
Related entries & more 
place-kick (n.)

"a kick of a ball previously placed on the ground," 1845, originally in rugby, from place + kick (n.). As a verb by 1856. Related: Place-kicking.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
kick-start (v.)

1919 (implied in kick-starter), "method of starting an internal combustion engine (of a motorcycle) by pushing down a lever with the foot," from kick (n.) + start (n.). Figurative sense of "take a course of action that will quickly start a process" is by 1995.

Related entries & more 
drop-kick (n.)

1849, from drop (n.) + kick (n.). As a verb by 1874. Related: Drop-kicked; drop-kicking.

Who would linger by the fire, nor from toil an hour snatch
When villages play football in a merry monster match;
E'en a mere ale-drinking Saxon feels some fervour in his soul
As he watches and bets glasses on a drop-kick at the goal.
[from "A Lay of English Field Sports," by "Colonel Chasse," in The Sporting Review, June 1849]
Related entries & more 
kicker (n.)
1570s, originally of horses, agent noun from kick (v.). Kickee is recorded from 1820.
Related entries & more 
kickboxing (n.)
also kick-boxing, 1968, from kick (n.) + boxing (n.). Related: Kickbox (v.); kickboxer (1978).
Related entries & more 
kickstand (n.)
also kick-stand, "metal support for holding a bicycle upright," 1936, from kick (n.) + stand (n.). So called for the method of putting it in position.
Related entries & more