a young cat.

verb (used with or without object)

(of cats) to give birth; bear.

Origin of kitten

1350–1400; Middle English kitoun, apparently blend of kiteling kitling and Middle French chitoun, variant of chaton kitten
Related formskit·ten·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for kitten

kitty, puss, kit, pussycat, pussy

Examples from the Web for kitten

Contemporary Examples of kitten

Historical Examples of kitten

  • Suddenly she smiled—the smile that suggested, in some subtle way, a kitten.

    The Slave Of The Lamp

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • I was ill for three days, and all that time the kitten was kept with me.

    Concerning Cats

    Helen M. Winslow

  • Wordsworth's "Kitten and the Falling Leaves," is in the high, moralizing style.

    Concerning Cats

    Helen M. Winslow

  • Then, too, he used to wash Jack, lapping him all over as a mother cat does her kitten.

    Concerning Cats

    Helen M. Winslow

  • The Pole-cat or Skunk is about the size of a kitten eight months old.

    The History of Louisiana

    Le Page Du Pratz

British Dictionary definitions for kitten



a young cat
have kittens or have a canary British informal to react with disapproval, anxiety, etcshe had kittens when she got the bill US equivalent: have a cow


(of cats) to give birth to (young)
Derived Formskitten-like, adjective

Word Origin for kitten

C14: from Old Northern French caton, from cat 1; probably influenced by Middle English kiteling
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 kitten

late 14c., probably from an Anglo-French variant of Old French chitoun (Old North French caton) "little cat," from chat "cat," from Late Latin cattus (see cat). Applied playfully to a young girl, a sweetheart, from 1870.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with kitten


see have a fit (kittens); weak as a kitten.

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