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[kee-wee] /ˈki wi/
noun, plural kiwis.
any of several flightless, ratite birds of the genus Apteryx, of New Zealand, allied to the extinct moas.
Also called Chinese gooseberry. the egg-sized, edible berry of the Chinese gooseberry, having fuzzy brownish skin and slightly tart green flesh.
  1. a member of an air service, as in World War I, who is confined to ground duty.
  2. a former pilot or member of a flight crew.
Informal. a New Zealander.
Origin of kiwi
Borrowed into English from Maori around 1825-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for kiwi


noun (pl) kiwis
any nocturnal flightless New Zealand bird of the genus Apteryx, having a long beak, stout legs, and weakly barbed feathers: order Apterygiformes See ratite
short for kiwi fruit
(informal) a New Zealander
Word Origin
C19: from Māori, of imitative origin
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 kiwi

type of flightless bird, 1835, from Maori kiwi, said to be of imitative origin. As slang for "a New Zealander," it is attested from 1918. The kiwi fruit (Actinia chinesis), was so called in U.S. from c.1966 when it was imported there, but it is known in New Zealand as Chinese gooseberry (1925).

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



  1. An Air Force member, esp an officer, who shuns airplanes (Air Force fr WWI British)
  2. A New Zealander (1918+)

[fr the name of a flightless bird of New Zealand, fr Maori]

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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