- a band of lightly armed foot soldiers of ancient Ireland.
- (in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands) a soldier.
- an Irish peasant, especially a crude or boorish one.
Origin of kern3
1325–75; Middle English kerne < Irish ceithern band of foot soldiers; cf. cateran
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for kerne
What the deuce do you mean by discussing such a matter with a Highland kerne?A Daughter of Raasay
William MacLeod Raine
A kerne was allowed sixteen and an agricultural labourer ten.
One thousand kerne were required for Scotland and 2,000 for France.
He had no help from the Government but 300 kerne and a battering-ram, which he did not use.
The result was a prey of 400 cows and the slaughter of some forty kerne and cowherds.
- the part of the character on a piece of printer's type that projects beyond the body
- (tr) to furnish (a typeface) with a kern
C17: from French carne corner of type, projecting angle, ultimately from Latin cardō hinge
- a lightly armed foot soldier in medieval Ireland or Scotland
- a troop of such soldiers
- archaic a loutish peasant
C14: from Middle Irish cethern band of foot soldiers, from cath battle
- engineering the central area of a wall, column, etc, through which all compressive forces pass
from German Kern core, heart
- Jerome (David). 1885–1945, US composer of musical comedies, esp Show Boat (1927)
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
Word Origin and History for kerne
1680s, "part of a metal type projecting beyond the body," as the head of an -f- or the tail of a -j-, from French carne "projecting angle, quill of a pen," from Latin cardinem "hinge."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper