• synonyms


  1. a light frame covered with some thin material, to be flown in the wind at the end of a long string.
  2. any of several small birds of the hawk family Accipitridae that have long, pointed wings, feed on insects, carrion, reptiles, rodents, and birds, and are noted for their graceful, gliding flight.Compare black kite, swallow-tailed kite, white-tailed kite.
  3. Nautical. flying kite.
  4. Finance.
    1. a check drawn against uncollected or insufficient funds, as for redepositing, with the intention of creating a false balance in the account by taking advantage of the time lapse required for collection.
    2. a check whose amount has been raised by forgery before cashing.
  5. a person who preys on others; sharper.
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verb (used without object), kit·ed, kit·ing.
  1. Informal. to fly or move with a rapid or easy motion like that of a kite.
  2. to obtain money or credit through kites.
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verb (used with object), kit·ed, kit·ing.
  1. to employ (a check or the like) as a kite; to cash or pass (a kite, forged check, etc.).
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Origin of kite

before 900 for def 2; 1655–65 for def 1; Middle English kyte, Old English cȳta kite, bittern; akin to German Kauz owl
Related formskit·er, nounkite·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for kiter


  1. a light frame covered with a thin material flown in the wind at the end of a length of string
  2. British slang an aeroplane
  3. (plural) nautical any of various light sails set in addition to the working sails of a vessel
  4. any diurnal bird of prey of the genera Milvus, Elanus, etc, typically having a long forked tail and long broad wings and usually preying on small mammals and insects: family Accipitridae (hawks, etc)
  5. archaic a person who preys on others
  6. commerce a negotiable paper drawn without any actual transaction or assets and designed to obtain money on credit, give an impression of affluence, etc
  7. fly a kite See fly 1 (def. 14)
  8. high as a kite See high (def. 30)
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  1. to issue (fictitious papers) to obtain credit or money
  2. (tr) US and Canadian to write (a cheque) in anticipation of sufficient funds to cover it
  3. (intr) to soar and glide
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Derived Formskiter, noun

Word Origin for kite

Old English cӯta; related to Middle High German küze owl, Old Norse kӯta to quarrel


  1. a variant spelling of kyte
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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 kiter



bird of prey (Milvus ictinus), Old English cyta "kind of hawk," probably imitative of its cries (cf. ciegan "to call," German Kauz "screech owl"). The toy kite first so-called 1660s, from its way of hovering in the air like a bird. The dismissive invitation to go fly a kite is attested by 1942, American English, probably tracing to the popular song of the same name (lyrics by Johnny Burke), sung by Bing Crosby in "The Star Maker" (1939):

Go fly a kite and tie your troubles to the tail
They'll be blown away by a merry gale,
Go fly a kite and toss your worries to the wind
And they won't come back, they'll be too chagrined.
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"write a fictitious check," 1839, American English, from 1805 phrase fly a kite "raise money by issuing commercial paper on nonexistent funds;" see kite (n.). Related: Kited; kiting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with kiter


see go fly a kite; high as a kite.

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