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

Three days later, the rest of the kittens were rescued. Kathleen Christiansen,, "Featured Pet: Chidi from Candy’s Cats," 27 Aug. 2019 Some of the wild kittens need more time than others to get used to people, being indoors, and around other cats. Denise Coffey,, "Doing Her Part To Clear The Shelters," 26 Aug. 2019 On average, a litter of kittens runs between three and five babies. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "SD Humane Society caring for mama cat and her litter of 11. Luckily, mom can provide," 8 Aug. 2019 This is assumed to be the reason Wain's art largely consisted of kittens with exaggerated features. Sarah Madaus, Town & Country, "Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy are Teaming Up on a Louis Wain Biopic," 25 July 2019 In September 1969, his long-term girlfriend Christine Hinton was driving their cats to the vet when one of the kittens got loose in the vehicle. Jordan Runtagh,, "The Most Interesting Man in Rock: How David Crosby Survived Everything — and Lived to Sing About It," 24 July 2019 His family, down-on-their-luck blue collar folks who are raising a small army of kittens, are counting on his success to help pull them out of their own mediocre life circumstances. Joyce Chen,, "What Happened With The Lawsuit From Hulu's Jawline Documentary?," 1 Aug. 2018 At Gucci, Alessandro Michele showed metallic strappy sandals adorned with turquoise and hot-pink sequins, while Christopher Kane covered glossy red kitten-heel pumps with strands of diamanté fringe. Angela Koh, New York Times, "Bejeweled Party Shoes With ’80s Appeal," 24 Apr. 2018 Her mom gave birth to her and three other kittens in April 2018 on a farm in Apopka and began acting strangely. Kathleen Christiansen,, "Featured Pet: Chidi from Candy’s Cats," 27 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Just kitten around Third baseman Eduardo Escobar is not a cat person, and teammates David Peralta, Wilmer Flores and Ildemaro Vargas love that about him. Jenna Ortiz, azcentral, "Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver's latest MRI reveals good news," 24 June 2019 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

14 Sep 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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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