\ ˈkin \

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


They are her distant kin. invited all of his kith and kin to his graduation party

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Twin stone towers—clearly kin to the United Nations Secretariat in New York, of which Niemeyer was a primary architect—soared behind the horizontal main building of the National Congress. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, "How Brasília Turned Me On to Modern Architecture’s Sexy Side," 2 Nov. 2018 Family heirlooms eschewed by younger kin were sold. Bonnie S. Benwick, The Seattle Times, "Kitchen confidential: How I downsized the most important room in the house," 24 Sep. 2018 And for that, her kin hunted him down, kidnapped and lynched him before binding his body to a 75-pound cotton gin fan with barbed wire and throwing him into the Tallahatchie River. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "Funeral for Emmett Till, lynched in 1955, unfolds every day in the nation’s capital," 12 July 2018 The sun and most of its stellar kin will quietly shrivel into dim, planet-size embers. Alan Hirshfeld, WSJ, "Book Review: Feeling Gravity’s Pull," 16 Nov. 2018 Law enforcement is required to release basic information about homicides following next-of-kin notifications, according to the report. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "Mother of 5 fatally shot in her car, but no suspects 2 weeks later, authorities say," 24 Aug. 2018 The pilot, who has not been identified pending next-of-kin notification, is a man in his late 40s, the coroner told the station. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "Jet crashes in South Carolina after failing to stop on runway, killing at least 2," 28 Sep. 2018 Luckily, paperwork is an easy way to supersede the next-of-kin list. Ace Ratcliff, SELF, "6 Things You Should Do Now to Prepare for Your Own Funeral," 30 Aug. 2018 The sharing of food between non-kin, for example, was an early adaptation that proved to be crucial to the success of H. Sapiens. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Humanity's Secret Weapon Is Surviving in Tough Climates," 31 July 2018

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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Learn More about kin

Dictionary Entries near kin



Kim Young Sam





Statistics for kin

Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kin

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

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More Definitions for kin



English Language Learners Definition of kin

: a person's relatives


\ ˈkin \

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 \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on kin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kin

Spanish Central: Translation of kin

Nglish: Translation of kin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kin for Arabic Speakers

Comments on kin

What made you want to look up kin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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