kith

noun \ ˈkith \

Definition of kith

: familiar friends, neighbors, or relatives
  • kith and kin

kith was our Word of the Day on 08/05/2016. Hear the podcast!

The Evolution of kith

Kith has had many meanings over the years. In its earliest uses it referred to knowledge of something, but that meaning died out in the 1400s. Another sense, "one's native land," had come and gone by the early 1500s. The sense "friends, fellow countrymen, or neighbors" developed before the 12th century and was sometimes used as a synonym of kinsfolk. That last sense got kith into hot water after people began using the word in the alliterative phrase "kith and kin." Over the years, usage commentators have complained that kith means the same thing as kin, so "kith and kin" is redundant. Clearly, they have overlooked some other historical definitions, but if you want to avoid redundancy charges, be sure to include friends as well as relatives among your "kith and kin."

Origin and Etymology of kith

Middle English, from Old English cȳthth; akin to cūth known — more at uncouth



KITH Defined for Kids

kith

noun \ ˈkith \

Definition of kith for Students

: familiar friends and neighbors or relatives
  • We invited our kith and kin.


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a man who seduces many women

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!