Etymology
Advertisement
kitten (n.)

late 14c., kitoun, "the young of a domesticated cat," probably from an Anglo-French variant of Old French chaton, chitoun (Old North French caton) "little cat," a diminutive of chat "cat," from Late Latin cattus (see cat (n.)). In playful use, "a young girl, a sweetheart," from 1870. As a verb, "bring forth kittens," late 15c. To have kittens "lose one's composure" is from 1908.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
kittenish (adj.)
1754, from kitten + -ish. Related: Kittenishly; Kittenishness.
Related entries & more 
kit-fox (n.)
small fox of western North America, 1812 (Lewis and Clark), the first element perhaps kit (1560s) the shortened form of kitten (n.), in reference to smallness.
Related entries & more 
kitty (n.1)

"young cat, child's pet name for a cat," 1719, variant of kitten, perhaps influenced by kitty "girl, young woman" (c. 1500), which originally is a pet form of fem. proper name Catherine. Kitty Hawk, the place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where the Wright Brothers first flew, apparently is a mangling of a native Algonquian name; it also has been written as Chicahauk.

Related entries & more 
chit (n.2)

"small child," 1620s, originally "young of an animal" (late 14c.), of uncertain origin; perhaps a playful deformation of kitten, but The Middle English Compendium compares Old High German kizzin "kid" and Century Dictionary mentions Old English cið "a shoot, sprout, sprig."

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
catling (n.)

"small cat, kitten," 1620s, from cat (n.) + diminutive suffix -ling.

Related entries & more 
catkin (n.)

"spike of a flowering tree or shrub (especially a willow or birch) after fruiting," 1570s, from Dutch katteken "flowering stem of willow, birch, hazel, etc.," literally "kitten," diminutive of katte "cat" (see cat (n.)). So called for their soft, furry appearance.

Related entries & more 
joey (n.)

"young kangaroo," 1839, sometimes said to be from a native Australian word joè, but more recently often said to be of unknown origin. Perhaps an extended use of Joey, the familiar form of the male proper name Joseph, for which Partridge lists many common or coarse meanings in 20c. Australian slang. Farmer and Henley ("Slang and Its Analogues") quote an 1887 article on "Australian Colloquialisms":

JOEY is a familiar name for anything young or small, and is applied indifferently to a puppy, or a kitten, or a child, while a WOOD-AND-WATER-JOEY is a hanger about hotels and a doer of odd jobs.
Related entries & more 
blow (n.1)

"a hard hit (with a fist)," mid-15c., blaw, blowe, from northern and East Midlands dialects, perhaps from Middle Dutch blouwen "to beat," or an unrecorded Old English cognate. The ordinary Old English word for "to strike" was slean (see slay. A common Germanic word; compare German bleuen, Gothic bliggwan "to strike."

Influenced in English by blow (v.1). Figurative sense of "a sudden shock or calamity" is from 1670s. To come to blows "engage in combat" is from 1650s (fall to blows is from 1590s). In reference to descriptions or accounts, blow-by-blow is recorded from 1921, American English, originally of detailed accounts in prize-fight broadcasts.

LIKE a hungry kitten loves its saucer of warm milk, so do radio fans joyfully listen to the blow-by-blow broadcast description of a boxing bout. [The Wireless Age, December 1922]
Related entries & more 
puss (n.1)

"cat," 1520s, but probably much older than the record, perhaps imitative of the hissing sound commonly used to get a cat's attention or the noise made by the cat in hissing. The same or similar sound is a conventional name for a cat in Germanic languages and as far off as Afghanistan; it is the root of the principal word for "cat" in Rumanian (pisica) and secondary words in Lithuanian (puž, word used for calling a cat), Low German (puus), Swedish dialect katte-pus, Irish puisin "a kitten," etc.

Applied to a girl or woman from c. 1600, originally in a negative sense, implying unpleasant cat-like qualities, but by mid-19c. in affectionate use.

The little puss seems already to have airs enough to make a husband as miserable as it's a law of nature for a quiet man to be when he marries a beauty. ["George Eliot," "Adam Bede," 1859]

Children's game puss-in-the-corner is attested by that name by 17-9.

Related entries & more