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[kahy-ting] /ˈkaɪ tɪŋ/
Origin of kiting
First recorded in 1860-65; kite1 + -ing1


[kahyt] /kaɪt/
a light frame covered with some thin material, to be flown in the wind at the end of a long string.
any of several small birds of the hawk family Accipitridae that have long, pointed wings, feed on insects, carrion, reptiles, rodents, and birds, and are noted for their graceful, gliding flight.
Nautical. flying kite.
  1. a check drawn against uncollected or insufficient funds, as for redepositing, with the intention of creating a false balance in the account by taking advantage of the time lapse required for collection.
  2. a check whose amount has been raised by forgery before cashing.
a person who preys on others; sharper.
verb (used without object), kited, kiting.
Informal. to fly or move with a rapid or easy motion like that of a kite.
to obtain money or credit through kites.
verb (used with object), kited, kiting.
to employ (a check or the like) as a kite; to cash or pass (a kite, forged check, etc.).
before 900 for def 2; 1655-65 for def 1; Middle English kyte, Old English cȳta kite, bittern; akin to German Kauz owl
Related forms
kiter, noun
kitelike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kiting
Historical Examples
  • The fever of speculation was in the veins of the community before "kiting" began.

    Martin Van Buren Edward M. Shepard
  • Now you will have to excuse me—the market's kiting, and I've got to watch it.

    Peter F. Hopkinson Smith
  • So he was all ears when Sloan one night gave his opinions on the subject of kiting.

    Uncle Sam Detective William Atherton Du Puy
  • He sent the 190 kiting along the tops of the waves and away inland.

    A Yankee Flier in Italy Rutherford G. Montgomery
  • Where a wolf will kite off and keep on kiting, a dog will plan.

    The Black Fawn James Arthur Kjelgaard
  • He knew instinctively the principles of "pyramiding" and "kiting."

    The Financier Theodore Dreiser
  • Right welcome was the usual afternoon squall, which sent these pests "kiting" over the stern.

  • For an instant all hands beheld a small sloop with a broken mast, kiting before the wind.

    The Last Cruise of the Spitfire Edward Stratemeyer
  • The ice was smooth and hard, and the breeze powerful enough to send them along at a kiting pace.

    For the Honor of Randall Lester Chadwick
  • This was a system of "kiting" stocks, just as other fraud concerns have been known to kite checks.

British Dictionary definitions for kiting


a light frame covered with a thin material flown in the wind at the end of a length of string
(Brit, slang) an aeroplane
(pl) (nautical) any of various light sails set in addition to the working sails of a vessel
any diurnal bird of prey of the genera Milvus, Elanus, etc, typically having a long forked tail and long broad wings and usually preying on small mammals and insects: family Accipitridae (hawks, etc)
(archaic) a person who preys on others
(commerce) a negotiable paper drawn without any actual transaction or assets and designed to obtain money on credit, give an impression of affluence, etc
fly a kite, See fly1 (sense 14)
high as a kite, See high (sense 30)
to issue (fictitious papers) to obtain credit or money
(transitive) (US & Canadian) to write (a cheque) in anticipation of sufficient funds to cover it
(intransitive) to soar and glide
Derived Forms
kiter, noun
Word Origin
Old English cӯta; related to Middle High German küze owl, Old Norse kӯta to quarrel


a variant spelling of kyte
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 kiting



bird of prey (Milvus ictinus), Old English cyta "kind of hawk," probably imitative of its cries (cf. ciegan "to call," German Kauz "screech owl"). The toy kite first so-called 1660s, from its way of hovering in the air like a bird. The dismissive invitation to go fly a kite is attested by 1942, American English, probably tracing to the popular song of the same name (lyrics by Johnny Burke), sung by Bing Crosby in "The Star Maker" (1939):

Go fly a kite and tie your troubles to the tail
They'll be blown away by a merry gale,
Go fly a kite and toss your worries to the wind
And they won't come back, they'll be too chagrined.



"write a fictitious check," 1839, American English, from 1805 phrase fly a kite "raise money by issuing commercial paper on nonexistent funds;" see kite (n.). Related: Kited; kiting.

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



  1. A letter or note, esp one smuggled into prison (1851+ Underworld)
  2. An airplane •Chiefly British (1917+)


To write a check when one does not have the funds to cover it, hoping to find them before the check is cashed: The bill was due before payday, so I had to kite the check (1934+)

Related Terms

fly a kite, go fly a kite, high as a kite

[fly a kite in the verb sense is found by 1808]

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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Idioms and Phrases with kiting
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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