[ kee-wee ]

noun,plural ki·wis.
  1. any of several flightless, ratite birds of the genus Apteryx, of New Zealand, allied to the extinct moas.

  2. Also called Chinese gooseberry. the egg-sized, edible berry of the Chinese gooseberry, having fuzzy brownish skin and slightly tart green flesh.

  1. Slang.

    • a member of an air service, as in World War I, who is confined to ground duty.

    • a former pilot or member of a flight crew.

  2. Informal. a New Zealander.

Origin of kiwi

Borrowed into English from Maori around 1825–35

Words Nearby kiwi Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use kiwi in a sentence

  • First kiwi, the 17-year-old son, departs to land a job working in the World of Darkness theme park.

    Great Weekend Reads | The Daily Beast | February 12, 2011 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • The radical element here is kiwi-, a verb stem indicating the general notion of “indefinite movement round about, here and there.”

    Language | Edward Sapir
  • I can't think it's on account of their looks; for there's the kiwi, the hornbill, and sakes alive—the puffins!

  • Another of the long-nosed earth workers, as curious in his make-up as the flamingoes, is the kiwi of New Zealand.

  • Katipo killed a kiwi in the course of our morning's hunt, and this bird is now being skinned, cut up, and roasted on sticks.

    Brighter Britain! (Volume 1 of 2) | William Delisle Hay
  • Allied to these are the four species of kiwi or apteryx, still existing there.

    More Science From an Easy Chair | Sir E. Ray (Edwin Ray) Lankester

British Dictionary definitions for kiwi


/ (ˈkiːwiː) /

nounplural kiwis
  1. any nocturnal flightless New Zealand bird of the genus Apteryx, having a long beak, stout legs, and weakly barbed feathers: order Apterygiformes: See ratite

  2. short for kiwi fruit

  1. informal a New Zealander

Origin of kiwi

C19: from Māori, of imitative origin

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