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

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 After police posted about the incident, several witnesses came forward, including people who had been in the process of adopting the kittens, Wrentham police said in a statement Thursday. Elise Takahama,, "Easton man charged with animal cruelty after allegedly abandoning kittens," 8 June 2018 Her two grown children live in a house in the back, and 1-year-old Tucker, who Ronstadt rescued as a 5-week-old kitten trying to cross a Los Angeles freeway, stalks the living room magisterially. Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, "Linda Ronstadt back in public eye, and it’s not so easy," 27 May 2018 Memes used to appeal to humanity’s fundamentals—everyone feels awkward sometimes, everyone likes watching a kitten acting a fool. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "The WIRED Guide to Memes," 1 Apr. 2018 Actress Mariska Hargitay, who plays Olivia's namesake on Law & Order, was psyched to learn that Taylor Swift named her kitten after the badass detective. Caitlin Petreycik, Seventeen, "10 Reasons Why Taylor Swift's Cat Olivia Benson Has The Best Life Ever," 27 Oct. 2014 And WuShock is an adorable kitten compared with King Cake Baby, the plastic Mardi Gras mascot of the New Orleans Pelicans NBA franchise. Jason Gay, WSJ, "The Fuzzy Terror of Sports Mascots," 27 Sep. 2018 The organization offers kits, free vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery for kittens. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Too many kittens are being born in Arizona. Here's one way to help," 13 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

13 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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