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[kit-n] /ˈkɪt n/
a young cat.
verb (used with or without object)
(of cats) to give birth; bear.
Origin of kitten
1350-1400; Middle English kitoun, apparently blend of kiteling kitling and Middle French chitoun, variant of chaton kitten
Related forms
kittenlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kitten
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Suddenly she smiled—the smile that suggested, in some subtle way, a kitten.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
  • I was ill for three days, and all that time the kitten was kept with me.

    Concerning Cats Helen M. Winslow
  • Then, too, he used to wash Jack, lapping him all over as a mother cat does her kitten.

    Concerning Cats Helen M. Winslow
  • Wordsworth's "kitten and the Falling Leaves," is in the high, moralizing style.

    Concerning Cats Helen M. Winslow
  • The Pole-cat or Skunk is about the size of a kitten eight months old.

    The History of Louisiana Le Page Du Pratz
British Dictionary definitions for kitten


a young cat
(Brit, informal) have kittens, have a canary, to react with disapproval, anxiety, etc: she had kittens when she got the bill US equivalent have a cow
(of cats) to give birth to (young)
Derived Forms
kitten-like, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old Northern French caton, from cat1; probably influenced by Middle English kiteling
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 kitten

late 14c., probably from an Anglo-French variant of Old French chitoun (Old North French caton) "little cat," from chat "cat," from Late Latin cattus (see cat). Applied playfully to a young girl, a sweetheart, from 1870.

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


Related Terms

have kittens, sex kitten

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 kitten
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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