Nearby words

  1. kibitka,
  2. kibitz,
  3. kibitzer,
  4. kiblah,
  5. kibosh,
  6. kick a habit,
  7. kick about,
  8. kick around,
  9. kick ass,
  10. kick back


Origin of kick

1350–1400; Middle English kiken (v.); origin uncertain

Related formskick·a·ble, adjectivekick·less, adjectiveout·kick, verb (used with object)o·ver·kick, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for kick in

kick in

verb (adverb)

(intr) to start or become activated
(tr) mainly Australian and NZ informal to contribute



(tr) to drive or impel with the foot
(tr) to hit with the foot or feet
(intr) to strike out or thrash about with the feet, as in fighting or swimming
(intr) to raise a leg high, as in dancing
(of a gun, etc) to recoil or strike in recoiling when fired
(tr) rugby
  1. to make (a conversion or a drop goal) by means of a kick
  2. to score (a goal) by means of a kicked conversion
(tr) soccer to score (a goal) by a kick
(intr) athletics to put on a sudden spurt
(intr) to make a sudden violent movement
(intr) cricket (of a ball) to rear up sharply
(intr sometimes foll by against) informal to object or resist
(intr) informal to be active and in good health (esp in the phrase alive and kicking)
informal to change gear in (a car, esp a racing car)he kicked into third and passed the bigger car
(tr) informal to free oneself of (an addiction, etc)to kick heroin; to kick the habit
kick against the pricks See prick (def. 20)
kick into touch
  1. rugby soccerto kick the ball out of the playing area and into touchSee touch (def. 15)
  2. informalto take some temporizing action so that a problem is shelved or a decision postponed
kick one's heels to wait or be kept waiting
kick over the traces See trace 2 (def. 3)
kick the bucket slang to die
kick up one's heels informal to enjoy oneself without inhibition


a thrust or blow with the foot
any of certain rhythmic leg movements used in swimming
the recoil of a gun or other firearm
informal a stimulating or exciting quality or effect (esp in the phrases get a kick out of or for kicks)
athletics a sudden spurt, acceleration, or boost
a sudden violent movement
informal the sudden stimulating or intoxicating effect of strong alcoholic drink or certain drugs
informal power or force
slang a temporary enthusiasmhe's on a new kick every week
kick in the pants slang
  1. a reprimand or scolding designed to produce greater effort, enthusiasm, etc, in the person receiving it
  2. a setback or disappointment
kick in the teeth slang a humiliating rebuff

Derived Formskickable, adjective

Word Origin for kick

C14 kiken, perhaps of Scandinavian 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

Word Origin and History for kick in
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with kick in

kick in


Contribute one's share, as in We'll kick in half if you take care of the rest. [Colloquial; c. 1900]


Also, kick off. Die, as in No one knows when he'll kick in, or He finally kicked off yesterday. [Slang; first half of 1900s] Also see kick the bucket.


Begin to operate, as in Finally the motor kicked in and we could get started. This usage was first recorded in 1908.


In addition to the idioms beginning with kick

  • kick a habit
  • kick around
  • kick ass
  • kick back
  • kick in
  • kick in the pants, a
  • kick it
  • kick off
  • kick oneself
  • kick out
  • kick over the traces
  • kick the bucket
  • kick the habit
  • kick up
  • kick up a fuss
  • kick up one's heels
  • kick upstairs

also see:

  • alive and kicking
  • for fun (kicks)
  • get a bang (kick) out of
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.