Entries linking to akin
prefix or inseparable particle, a relic of various Germanic and Latin elements.
In words derived from Old English, it commonly represents Old English an "on, in, into" (see on (prep.)), as in alive, above, asleep, aback, abroad, afoot, ashore, ahead, abed, aside, obsolete arank "in rank and file," etc., forming adjectives and adverbs from nouns, with the notion "in, at; engaged in." In this use it is identical to a (2).
It also can represent Middle English of (prep.) "off, from," as in anew, afresh, akin, abreast. Or it can be a reduced form of the Old English past participle prefix ge-, as in aware.
Or it can be the Old English intensive a-, originally ar- (cognate with German er- and probably implying originally "motion away from"), as in abide, arise, awake, ashamed, marking a verb as momentary, a single event. Such words sometimes were refashioned in early modern English as though the prefix were Latin (accursed, allay, affright are examples).
In words from Romanic languages, often it represents reduced forms of Latin ad "to, toward; for" (see ad-), or ab "from, away, off" (see ab-); both of which by about 7c. had been reduced to a in the ancestor of Old French. In a few cases it represents Latin ex.
[I]t naturally happened that all these a- prefixes were at length confusedly lumped together in idea, and the resultant a- looked upon as vaguely intensive, rhetorical, euphonic, or even archaic, and wholly otiose. [OED]
c. 1200, from Old English cynn "family; race; kind, sort, rank; nature" (also "gender, sex," a sense obsolete since Middle English), from Proto-Germanic *kunja- "family" (source also of Old Frisian kenn, Old Saxon kunni "kin, kind, race, tribe," Old Norse kyn, Old High German chunni "kin, race;" Danish kjön, Swedish kön, Middle Dutch, Dutch kunne "sex, gender;" Gothic kuni "family, race," Old Norse kundr "son," German Kind "child"), from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.
In the Teutonic word, as in Latin genus and Greek [genos], three main senses appear, (1) race or stock, (2) class or kind, (3) gender or sex .... [OED]
Related to both words kind and to child. From 1590s as an adjective, from the noun and as a shortening of akin. Legal next of kin (1540s) does not include the widow, "she being specifically provided for by the law as widow" [Century Dictionary], and must be a blood relation of the deceased.