[kit-l]British Dialect

verb (used with object), kit·tled, kit·tling.

to tickle with the fingers; agitate or stir, as with a spoon.
to excite or rouse (a person), especially by flattery or strong words.

adjective, kit·tler, kit·tlest.

ticklish; fidgety.
requiring skill or caution; precarious.

Origin of kittle

1475–85; earlier kytylle, ketil (compare Middle English kitellinge (gerund), late Old English kitelung); cognate with Middle High German kützeln; akin to Old Norse kitla, German kitzeln to tickle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kittle

Historical Examples of kittle

  • He's green when you put him in the kittle, and when you take him out, he's red.

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I always said his honour would get into trouble with a kittle girl like that.


    Talbot Baines Reed

  • And says he, 'This beats the Kittle Creek babtizin' all to pieces.'

    Aunt Jane of Kentucky

    Eliza Calvert Hall

  • Kittle, in the phrase "kittle cattle," is identical with tickle; cf. Ger.

  • "Eh, but women are kittle cattle to drive," said poor Dick ruefully.

    A Simpleton

    Charles Reade

British Dictionary definitions for kittle



capricious and unpredictable


to be troublesome or puzzling to (someone)
to tickle

Word Origin for kittle

C16: probably from Old Norse kitla to tickle
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