kit·​ten | \ ˈki-tᵊn \

Definition of kitten

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a young cat also : an immature or young individual of various other small mammals


kittened; kittening\ ˈkit-​niŋ , ˈki-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of kitten (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to give birth to kittens

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of kitten in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Please transform my optics Transformation optics is one of my favorite things (right after raindrops on roses and definitely replacing all mention of kittens). Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Researchers 3D print a wormhole… for sound waves," 6 Dec. 2018 Last year, 2,395 cats or kittens were adopted, according to the Maryland SPCA. Reema Amin,, "Shelters across Maryland offering free cat adoptions throughout July," 11 July 2018 Stepping out in winter white, Chopra wore a white turtleneck and cropped white jeans, giving it a monochromatic touch with patent kitten ankle booties and white cat eye sunglasses. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Priyanka Chopra Takes Twinning to the Next Level With Her Adorable Puppy," 16 Dec. 2018 The enormous design selection ranges from wanderlust nature scenes to old-timey sailor-and-compass prints to kittens shooting lasers out of their eyes (sold out, obviously). Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Tyvek Time? These Watches Are Made of Recycled Home Wrap," 13 Nov. 2018 That's scarring enough for any preteen, but then cut to a few days later when all of her other pet kittens die. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House Is Basically a Scary This Is Us," 16 Oct. 2018 In May, Bishop sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, calling for an investigation into the program and questioning why the kittens are killed instead of being offered for adoption. Andrew O'reilly, Fox News, "USDA kitten killing comes under fire from bipartisan group of lawmakers," 19 Sep. 2018 Every kitten is adorable, but some people look for breeds with a certain look, size, personality, activity level or other desirable trait. Kim Campbell Thornton, sacbee, "Cats’ quirks? Read about breeds," 27 June 2018 Sadly, Elsa has since gone missing, but the family is hopeful that the sweet kitten will find her way back home safely. Marlisse Cepeda, Woman's Day, "One Hilarious Family Staged a Newborn Photo Shoot for Its New Kitten," 9 June 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Kitten in car wheel: Iverson St., 2500 block, Temple Hills, June 3. Jillian S. Jarrett, Washington Post, "Prince George’s County Animal Watch," 20 June 2017 Things start cooking when Keanu disappears, forcing Rell and Clarence to play detective while chasing leads and kitten tail. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "With ‘Keanu,’ Key & Peele Break Into Feature Films — Kittens in Tow APRIL 20, 2016," 28 Apr. 2016

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

See More

First Known Use of kitten


14th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kitten


Middle English kitoun, from Anglo-French *kiton, chiton, diminutive of cat, chat cat, from Late Latin cattus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about kitten

Statistics for kitten

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kitten

The first known use of kitten was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for kitten



English Language Learners Definition of kitten

: a young cat


kit·​ten | \ ˈki-tᵊn \

Kids Definition of kitten

: a young cat

Other Words from kitten

kittenish \ ˈki-​tᵊn-​ish \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on kitten

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kitten

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kitten

Spanish Central: Translation of kitten

Nglish: Translation of kitten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kitten for Arabic Speakers

Comments on kitten

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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