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[kik-er] /ˈkɪk ər/
a person or thing that kicks.
  1. a disadvantageous point or circumstance, usually concealed or unnoticed:
    The tickets are free, but the kicker is that you have to wait in line for hours to get them.
  2. a surprising change or turn of events:
    The kicker was that their friends knew it before they did.
something extra, as an additional cost or gain; an added expense or financial incentive.
Draw Poker. a card, usually an ace or face card, held with a pair or three of a kind in the hope of drawing a matching card.
(in concrete construction) a low plinth at the base of a column.
kickers, Slang. shoes, especially leisure shoes.
  1. a small, low-powered outboard motor.
  2. an auxiliary engine on a sailing vessel, river steamer, etc.
Slang. the alcoholic liquor in a mixed drink.
Also called eyebrow, highline, overline, teaser. Printing, Journalism. a short line of copy set in a distinctive type above a headline and intended to call attention to it.
Metallurgy. a charge of high-carbon iron that produces a vigorous boil when charged into an open-hearth furnace containing slag and molten metal of lower carbon content.
Also called kicker light. Photography. a light source coming from the back and side of a subject and producing a highlight.
Origin of kicker
First recorded in 1565-75; kick + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kickers
Historical Examples
  • When any one of them reacts, it trips the kickers and we emerge.

    Masters of Space Edward Elmer Smith
  • If any appeal from the agent's decisions, they are "kickers" and "insubordinate."

    The Indian Today Charles A. Eastman
  • Three of these watches were genuine tickers; the rest were only kickers.

  • kickers, as I have already said, should never be taken into any hunting field.

    The Horsewoman Alice M. Hayes
  • "This for you," and he brought the bucket perilously near one of the kickers' heads.

    My Life Josiah Flynt
  • Over the shoulders of the kickers whirled the buckle-end of a belt.

    Tales of Mean Streets Arthur Morrison
  • Of course there were kickers, but those kind of people will be found everywhere.

  • The half-backs and backs have usually been men of speed coupled with skill as kickers.

    American Football Walter Camp
  • A shrapnel came swinging over the kickers, seething and fuming.

    Last Words Stephen Crane
  • The kickers were aggrieved, but the heart of the colonel was cut in twain.

    Last Words Stephen Crane
British Dictionary definitions for kickers


a person or thing that kicks
(sport) a player in a rugby or occasionally a soccer team whose task is to attempt to kick conversions, penalty goals, etc
(US & Canadian, slang) a hidden and disadvantageous factor, such as a clause in a contract
(informal) any light outboard motor for propelling a boat
(poker) the highest unpaired card in a hand, used to decide the outcome of an otherwise tied round
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kickers



1570s, agent noun from kick (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for kickers



Shoes, esp tennis shoes (1950s+ College students)



  1. A complainer; kvetch (1876+)
  2. A small motor, esp an outboard, used for a boat; eggbeater (1928+)
  3. Anything that gives great pleasure; kick: The kicker was the station wagon (1940s+)
  4. A hidden cost, qualification, defect, etc; catch: The kicker is that if you are subject to this requirement, your homeowner's policy will not cover the injuries/ The kicker to this one is simple (1970s+)

[fourth sense probably fr poker, ''a high card kept, along with a pair, in draw poker,'' found by 1892]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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