\ ˈkin How to pronounce kin (audio) \

Definition of kin

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a group of persons of common ancestry : clan
2a : one's relatives : kindred our neighbors and their kin close kin
b : kinsman he wasn't any kin to you— Jean Stafford
3 archaic : kinship



Definition of kin (Entry 2 of 3)

\ kən \
variants: or less commonly -kins \ kənz \

Definition of -kin (Entry 3 of 3)

: little catkin babykins

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Examples of kin in a Sentence

Noun They are her distant kin. invited all of his kith and kin to his graduation party
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The nadir of the hellish heap are the treacherous, those who betrayed their kin, country, or, worst of all, God (Think Judas Iscariot). Chris Lowney, Forbes, "Treachery, Trust, And Courage: How To Avoid Organizational Hell," 20 Apr. 2021 Nonetheless, the couple’s depiction of their royal kin in a high-profile interview stung. oregonlive, "Prince Philip’s funeral offers William, Harry chance to heal rift," 17 Apr. 2021 The Marion County Coroner’s Office will release the names of the deceased once next-of-kin have been notified. William Mansell, ABC News, "Indianapolis FedEx shooting updates: 8 dead, several wounded at facility," 16 Apr. 2021 Relatives who otherwise avoid the snarl of the 405 and 105 freeways at rush hour suddenly brave a trip to LAX to pick up their chicken-carrying kin. Melody Petersen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: How best to ‘do no harm’?," 16 Apr. 2021 Inquire about the free week of summer camp for your kin., "Community News For The Windsor Edition," 9 Apr. 2021 Between 750 and 1,800 years ago, hundreds of Native Americans in what is now the northern Mississippi Delta region were buried alongside their kin and pet dogs in graves decorated with wolf teeth, beads, vases and turtle shells. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Mississippi Returns Hundreds of Native Americans’ Remains to Chickasaw Nation," 2 Apr. 2021 For many of the women, their children are their only kin outside North Korea. Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times, "They left behind children to find freedom. The choice haunts North Korean refugee women," 16 Mar. 2021 The name of the Marine who was killed is being withheld until 24 hours after notification of next-of-kin. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "1 Marine killed, 2 injured in crash on Camp Pendleton," 8 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of kin


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1597, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kin


Middle English, from Old English cynn; akin to Old High German chunni race, Latin genus birth, race, kind, Greek genos, Latin gignere to beget, Greek gignesthai to be born


attributive use of kin entry 1

Noun suffix

Middle English, from Middle Dutch -kin; akin to Old High German -chīn, diminutive suffix

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Time Traveler for kin

Time Traveler

The first known use of kin was before the 12th century

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Statistics for kin

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for kin



English Language Learners Definition of kin

somewhat old-fashioned : a person's relatives


\ ˈkin How to pronounce kin (audio) \

Kids Definition of kin

1 : a person's relatives
2 : kinsman
\ kən \
variants: also -kins \ kənz \

Kids Definition of -kin

: little lambkin



Legal Definition of kin

: one's relatives

Other Words from kin

kinship \ -​ˌship How to pronounce kin (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on kin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kin

Nglish: Translation of kin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kin for Arabic Speakers

Comments on kin

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