kit·​ten | \ ˈki-tᵊn How to pronounce kitten (audio) \

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 How to pronounce kittening (audio) , ˈki-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of kitten (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to give birth to kittens

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Examples of kitten in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

June was chosen because that’s also the time when shelters and pet rescues are the most crowded with kittens. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Could a smelly, black-and-white kitten be half skunk?," 3 June 2019 The researchers performed health checks and attached identification tags to the ears of each kitten. National Geographic, "Den of Mountain Lion Kittens Found in Unlikely Place," 21 June 2018 The Ocala Star-Banner reports that Assistant State Attorney Toby Hunt noted that a jury recently acquitted a man charged with animal cruelty after cutting off the tails of four kittens with rusty scissors. CBS News, "Florida teacher explains why he drowned raccoons in front of students," 28 May 2018 Just thirty seconds of kittens nursing from their mom... and Fuji crying because his brother is hogging the milk bar. Jamie Ramsay, Chicago Reader, "These photos of moms and their babies are cuter than any family picture you'll take on Mother's Day," 12 May 2018 One of the kittens had to be resuscitated using an oxygen mask in a moment captured on video by firefighters. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Florida firefighters revive kitten after house fire," 8 May 2018 Ohashi is a 21-year-old UCLA gymnast whose perfect 10 floor routine in a recent college meet became a viral video phenomenon on par with all the world’s clumsy kittens, windsurfings dogs and Justin Bieber conspiracies. Jason Gay, WSJ, "A Must-See Gymnast, and the Meaning of Joy," 16 Jan. 2019 The charity announced that the kittens were ready to be adopted with a video on Twitter. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle's Patronage Mayhew Just Named Kitties After Her, Prince Harry, and Kate Middleton," 31 Jan. 2019 Two more kittens were born with the same distinct appearance and a new breed was created. Kristen A. Schmitt, Smithsonian, "There’s No Such Thing as a Hypoallergenic Cat," 17 Apr. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for kitten

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for kitten

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

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More Definitions for kitten



English Language Learners Definition of kitten

: a young cat


kit·​ten | \ ˈki-tᵊn How to pronounce kitten (audio) \

Kids Definition of kitten

: a young cat

Other Words from kitten

kittenish \ ˈki-​tᵊn-​ish \ adjective

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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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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