plural noun

kin·​folk ˈkin-ˌfōk How to pronounce kinfolk (audio)
variants or kinfolks

Examples of kinfolk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her body of work testifies to deeply held values among African Americans, who revere so many sentimental little things that were denied Black people during the era of enslavement: the ability to freely give your heart to another, keep kinfolk safe and close, and fully embrace the human experience. Craig Seymour, Rolling Stone, 5 Dec. 2023 At the time, Mao Zedong let Inner Mongolians keep the script, in part to distinguish them from kinfolk across the border. Christian Shepherd, Washington Post, 10 Dec. 2023 Long, frozen winters and fleeting, lazy summers in this remote area of the country helped forge tightknit bonds — over bonfires, while fishing or snowshoeing, or in musical jam circles — between kinfolk and friends. Garret K. Woodward, Rolling Stone, 8 Dec. 2023 Many of them were engulfed by settlers and forced to live on mountainous and agriculturally unproductive land, separated from their kinfolk who had migrated, with their cultural and political systems in a shambles. David Treuer, Foreign Affairs, 9 June 2020 Self-defense became second nature to the British-Indian schoolboy, who organized street patrols to protect his kinfolk in Manchester. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 27 June 2023 Often maintaining a certain distance from our kinfolk can help keep us together. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 24 Mar. 2023 All the kinfolk of the goat had long become food. Terrance Hayes, The New Yorker, 24 Jan. 2022 In my many years of navigating friend groups as a Black woman, two maxims have consistently held true: (1) not all skinfolk are your kinfolk; (2) there is a thin line between love and hate, and that tension can often be explored in platonic friendships just as much as romantic ones. Shamira Ibrahim, Vulture, 15 Aug. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kinfolk.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kinfolk was in 1873

Dictionary Entries Near kinfolk

Cite this Entry

“Kinfolk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


noun plural
kin·​folk ˈkin-ˌfōk How to pronounce kinfolk (audio)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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