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kit-cat

or kit-kat

[kit-kat]
See more synonyms for kit-cat on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. any of a series of half-length portraits of members of the Kit-Cat Club that were painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller between 1702 and 1717, measure almost uniformly 28 × 36 inches (71 × 91 cm), characteristically portray the head, upper torso, and hands, and are now in the National Gallery, London.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for kit-cat

Historical Examples

  • Thou may'st remember each bright Churchill of the galaxy, and all the toasts of the Kit-cat.

    The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

    Henry Fielding

  • Artists call portraits containing two-thirds of the figure Kit-cat size.

    The Book of Cats

    Charles H. Ross


Word Origin and History for kit-cat

club founded by Whig politicians in London, 1703; so called from Christopher ("Kit") Catling, keeper of the tavern on Shire Lane, near Temple Bar, in which the club first met. Meaning "a size of portrait less than half length" (1754), supposedly is because the dining room in which portraits of club members hung was too low for half-length portraits.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper