of the same family; related; akin.
of the same kind or nature; having affinity.


    of kin, of the same family; related; akin: Although their surnames are identical they are not of kin.

Origin of kin

before 900; Middle English; Old English cyn; cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German kunni, Old Norse kyn, Gothic kuni; akin to Latin genus, Greek génos, Sanskrit jánas. See gender1.
Related formskin·less, adjective
Can be confusedken kinkin kith


a diminutive suffix of nouns: lambkin.

Origin of -kin

Middle English < Middle Dutch, Middle Low German -ken; cognate with German -chen Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kin

Contemporary Examples of kin

Historical Examples of kin

  • If these guests were kin of his, they were welcome for his sake.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • It may be that, as some small return, my father or his kin may have power to advance your interest.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Theyclaimed to be kin to us, and they cared nothing for Man even when they smelled him.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • S' fur 's the pitcher goes, it's about as good 's kin be did with paint, I guess.

  • "Does beat all how she kin do it," thought Wade, listlessly.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

British Dictionary definitions for kin



a person's relatives collectively; kindred
a class or group with similar characteristics


(postpositive) related by blood
a less common word for akin

Word Origin for kin

Old English cyn; related to Old Norse kyn family, Old High German kind child, Latin genus kind


suffix forming nouns


Word Origin for -kin

from Middle Dutch, of West Germanic origin; compare German -chen
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 kin

c.1200, from Old English cynn "family; race; kind, sort, rank; nature; gender, sex," from Proto-Germanic *kunjam "family" (cf. Old Frisian kenn, Old Saxon kunni, Old Norse kyn, Old High German chunni "kin, race;" Danish and Swedish kön, Middle Dutch, Dutch kunne "sex, gender;" Gothic kuni "family, race," Old Norse kundr "son," German Kind "child"), from PIE *gen(e)- "to produce" (see genus).


diminutive suffix, first attested late 12c. in proper names adopted from Flanders and Holland, probably from Middle Dutch -kin, properly a double-diminutive, from -k + -in. Equivalent to German -chen. Also borrowed in Old French as -quin, where it usually has a bad sense.

This suffix, which is almost barren in French, has been more largely developed in the Picard patois, which uses it for new forms, such as verquin, a shabby little glass (verre); painequin, a bad little loaf (pain); Pierrequin poor little Pierre, &c. ["An Etymological Dictionary of the French Language," transl. G.W. Kitchin, Oxford, 1878]

Used in later Middle English with common nouns. In some words it is directly from Dutch or Flemish.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with kin


see kith and kin.

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