\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)

variants: or less commonly -kins \ kənz \

Definition of -kin (Entry 3 of 3)

: little catkin babykins

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Synonyms & Antonyms for kin

Synonyms: Noun

cousin, kinsman, relation, relative

Antonyms: Noun


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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

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 To reduce weight birds, compared with their dinosaur kin, reduced the size of some bones, made others hollow, and lost a few altogether. Steven Austad,, "Dinosaurs in the garden," 14 Apr. 2018 No one, or at least no one able or willing to bear the burden of taking possession and arranging for the disposition of their kin’s remains, has come forward. Kevin Riordan,, "They died alone. No one has claimed their remains. But soon, they will be laid to rest.," 16 Feb. 2018 Kim Kardashian and her kin have taken the bike short trend everywhere from the club to school drop-off, trading Princess Diana's purple for gray and dropping the Virgin Atlantic logos in favor of a more straight-forward look in muted tones. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Diana Is Your OG Chic Bike Shorts Inspo," 6 July 2018 Their extraordinary night vision helps them hunt and protect the pride at night, and their keen sense of smell helps them to identify their own kin and territory. Amy Raudenbush,, "Hey, kids: Draw this lion for a chance to see your artwork published," 29 June 2018 The market capitalization of the 1 trillion kin in circulation is now about $176 million. Erin Griffith, WIRED, "Kik Founder Plots a Rebel Alliance Against Facebook's 'Death Star'," 18 May 2018 For DeKnight, that love extended to black readers who had never seen their families’ recipes in print—as well as black people for whom kin, fictive or otherwise, is not a source of sustenance. Hannah Giorgis, Bon Appetit, "How Freda DeKnight’s Cookbook, ‘A Date with a Dish’ Inspired Generations of Black Cooks," 19 June 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

12 Nov 2018

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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

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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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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

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