British Library Cataloguing Data
The concise Oxford dictionary of current English.--8th ed.
1. English language--Dictionaries
I. Allen, R. E. (Robert Edward), 1944-423
ISBN 0-19-861243-5 thumb index
ISBN 0-19-861200-1 plain
K(1) n. (also k) (pl. Ks or K's) the eleventh letter of the
K(2) abbr. (also K.) 1 kelvin(s). 2 King, King's. 3 K”chel
(catalogue of Mozart's works). 4 (also k) (prec. by a numeral)
a Computing a unit of 1,024 (i.e. 2(10)) bytes or bits, or
loosely 1,000. b 1,000. [sense 4 as abbr. of KILO-]
K(3) symb. Chem. the element potassium.
k abbr. 1 kilo-. 2 knot(s).
Kaaba n. (also Caaba) a sacred building at Mecca, the Muslim Holy of
Holies containing the sacred black stone. [Arab. Ka' ba]
kabuki n. a form of popular traditional Japanese drama with highly
stylized song, acted by males only. [Jap. f. ka song + bu
dance + ki art]
kachina n. 1 an American Indian ancestral spirit. 2 (in full kachina
dancer) a person who represents a kachina in ceremonial dances.
Ьkachina doll a wooden doll representing a kachina. [Hopi, =
Kaddish n. 1 a Jewish mourner's prayer. 2 a doxology in the synagogue
service. [Aram. kaddЊs holy]
kadi var. of CADI.
Kaffir n. 1 a a member of the Xhosa-speaking peoples of S. Africa. b
the language of these peoples. 2 S.Afr. offens. any Black
African. [Arab. kafir infidel f. kafara not believe]
kaffiyeh var. of KEFFIYEH.
Kafir n. a native of the Hindu Kush mountains of NE Afghanistan.
[formed as KAFFIR]
adj. (of a situation, atmosphere, etc.) impenetrably
oppressive, nightmarish, in a manner characteristic of the
fictional world of Franz Kafka, German-speaking novelist (d.
kaftan var. of CAFTAN.
kai n. NZ colloq. food. [Maori]
kail var. of KALE.
kailyard var. of KALEYARD.
kaiser n. hist. an emperor, esp. the German Emperor, the Emperor of
Austria, or the head of the Holy Roman Empire. ЬЬkaisership n.
[in mod. Eng. f. G Kaiser and Du. keizer; in ME f. OE casere f.
Gmc adoption (through Gk kaisar) of L Caesar: see CAESAR]
kaka n. (pl. kakas) a large New Zealand parrot, Nestor
meridionalis, with olive-brown plumage. [Maori]
kakapo n. (pl. -os) an owl-like flightless New Zealand parrot,
Strigops habroptilus. [Maori, = night kaka]
kakemono n. (pl. -os) a vertical Japanese wall-picture, usu. painted or
inscribed on paper or silk and mounted on rollers. [Jap. f.
kake- hang + mono thing]
kala-azar n. a tropical disease caused by the parasitic protozoan
Leishmania donovani, which is transmitted to man by sandflies.
[Assamese f. kala black + azar disease]
kale n. (also kail) 1 a variety of cabbage, esp. one with wrinkled
leaves and no compact head. Also called curly kale. 2 US sl.
money. [ME, northern form of COLE]
n. 1 a tube containing mirrors and pieces of coloured glass or
paper, whose reflections produce changing patterns when the tube
is rotated. 2 a constantly changing group of bright or
interesting objects. ЬЬkaleidoscopic adj. kaleidoscopical adj.
[Gk kalos beautiful + eidos form + -SCOPE]
kalends var. of CALENDS.
kaleyard n. (also kailyard) Sc. a kitchen garden. Ьkaleyard school a
group of 19th-c. fiction writers including J. M. Barrie, who
described local town life in Scotland in a romantic vein and
with much use of the vernacular. [KALE + YARD(2)]
kali n. a glasswort, Salsola kali, with fleshy jointed stems, having
a high soda content. [Arab. kali ALKALI]
kalmia n. a N. American evergreen shrub of the genus Kalmia, esp. K.
latifolia, with showy pink flowers. [mod.L f. P. Kalm, Sw.
botanist d. 1779]
Kalmuck adj. & n. --adj. of a Buddhist Mongolian people living in the
western USSR. --n. 1 a member of this people. 2 the
Ural-Altaic language of this people. [Russ. kalmyk]
kalong n. any of various fruit-eating bats of the family Pteropodidae,
esp. Pteropus edulis; a flying fox. [Malay]
kalpa n. Hinduism & Buddhism the period between the beginning and the
end of the world considered as the day of Brahma (4,320 million
human years). [Skr.]
Kama n. the Hindu god of love. ЬKama Sutra an ancient Sanskrit
treatise on the art of erotic love. [Skr.]
kame n. a short ridge of sand and gravel deposited from the water of
a melted glacier. [Sc. form of COMB]
kamikaze n. & adj. --n. hist. 1 a Japanese aircraft loaded with
explosives and deliberately crashed by its pilot on its target.
2 the pilot of such an aircraft. --adj. 1 of or relating to a
kamikaze. 2 reckless, dangerous, potentially self-destructive.
[Jap. f. kami divinity + kaze wind]
kampong n. a Malayan enclosure or village. [Malay: cf. COMPOUND(2)]
n. & adj. = CAMBODIAN. [Kampuchea, native name for Cambodia]
Kan. abbr. Kansas.
kana n. any of various Japanese syllabaries. [Jap.]
kanaka n. a South Sea Islander, esp. (formerly) one employed in forced
labour in Australia. [Hawaiian, = man]
Kanarese n. (pl. same) 1 a member of a Dravidian people living in
western India. 2 the language of this people. [Kanara in
kangaroo n. a plant-eating marsupial of the genus Macropus, native to
Australia and New Guinea, with a long tail and strongly
developed hind quarters enabling it to travel by jumping.
Ьkangaroo closure Brit. Parl. a closure involving the
chairperson of a committee selecting some amendments for
discussion and excluding others. kangaroo court an improperly
constituted or illegal court held by strikers etc. kangaroo
mouse any small rodent of the genus Microdipodops, native to N.
America, with long hind legs for hopping. kangaroo paw any
plant of the genus Angiozanthos, with green and red woolly
flowers. kangaroo-rat any burrowing rodent of the genus
Dipodomys, having elongated hind feet. kangaroo vine an
evergreen climbing plant, Cissus antarctica, with tooth-edged
leaves. [Aboriginal name]
kanji n. Japanese writing using Chinese characters. [Jap. f. kan
Chinese + ji character]
Kannada n. the Kanarese language. [Kanarese kannada]
kanoon n. an instrument like a zither, with fifty to sixty strings.
[Pers. or Arab. kanun]
Kans. abbr. Kansas.
KANU abbr. Kenya African National Union.
kaolin n. a fine soft white clay produced by the decomposition of
other clays or feldspar, used esp. for making porcelain and in
medicines. Also called china clay. ЬЬkaolinic adj. kaolinize
v.tr. (also -ise). [F f. Chin. gaoling the name of a mountain
f. gao high + ling hill]
kaon n. Physics a meson having a mass several times that of a pion.
[ka repr. the letter K (as symbol for the particle) + -ON]
n. (pl. same) the conductor of an orchestra, opera, choir,
etc., esp. in German contexts. [G f. Kapelle court orchestra
f. It. cappella CHAPEL + Meister master]
kapok n. a fine fibrous cotton-like substance found surrounding the
seeds of a tropical tree, Ceiba pentandra, used for stuffing
cushions, soft toys, etc. [ult. f. Malay kapoq]
kappa n. the tenth letter of the Greek alphabet (K). [Gk]
kaput predic.adj. sl. broken, ruined; done for. [G kaputt]
karabiner n. a coupling link with safety closure, used by mountaineers.
[G, lit. 'carbine']
karakul n. (also caracul) 1 a variety of Asian sheep with a dark curled
fleece when young. 2 fur made from or resembling this. Also
called Persian lamb. [Russ.]
karat US var. of CARAT 2.
karate n. a Japanese system of unarmed combat using the hands and feet
as weapons. [Jap. f. kara empty + te hand]
karma n. Buddhism & Hinduism 1 the sum of a person's actions in
previous states of existence, viewed as deciding his or her fate
in future existences. 2 destiny. ЬЬkarmic adj. [Skr., =
Karoo n. (also Karroo) an elevated semi-desert plateau in S. Africa.
[Afrik. f. Hottentot karo dry]
karri n. (pl. karris) 1 a tall W. Australian tree, Eucalyptus
diversicolor, with a hard red wood. 2 the timber from this.
Karroo var. of KAROO.
karst n. a limestone region with underground drainage and many
cavities and passages caused by the dissolution of the rock.
[the Karst, a limestone region in NW Yugoslavia]
karyo- comb. form Biol. denoting the nucleus of a cell. [Gk karuon
n. Biol. the division of a cell nucleus during mitosis.
[KARYO- + Gk kinesis movement f. kineo move]
karyotype n. the number and structure of the chromosomes in the nucleus
of a cell.
kasbah n. (also casbah) 1 the citadel of a N. African city. 2 an Arab
quarter near this. [F casbah f. Arab. kas(a)ba citadel]
katabatic adj. Meteorol. (of wind) caused by air flowing downwards (cf.
ANABATIC). [Gk katabatikos f. katabaino go down]
var. of CATABOLISM.
katakana n. an angular form of Japanese kana. [Jap., = side kana]
kathode var. of CATHODE.
katydid n. any of various green grasshoppers of the family
Tettigoniidae, native to the US. [imit. of the sound it makes]
kauri n. (pl. kauris) a coniferous New Zealand tree, Agathis
australis, which produces valuable timber and a resin.
Ьkauri-gum this resin. [Maori]
kava n. 1 a Polynesian shrub, Piper methysticum. 2 an intoxicating
drink made from the crushed roots of this. [Polynesian]
kawa-kawa n. a New Zealand shrub, Macropiper excelsum, with aromatic
kayak n. 1 an Eskimo one-man canoe consisting of a light wooden frame
covered with sealskins. 2 a small covered canoe resembling
kayo v. & n. colloq. --v.tr. (-oes, -oed) knock out; stun by a
blow. --n. (pl. -os) a knockout. [repr. pronunc. of KO]
kazoo n. a toy musical instrument into which the player sings or
hums. [19th c., app. with ref. to the sound produced]
kea n. a parrot, Nestor notabilis, of New Zealand, with
brownish-green and red plumage. [Maori, imit.]
kebab n. (usu. in pl.) small pieces of meat, vegetables, etc., packed
closely and cooked on a skewer. [Urdu f. Arab. kabab]
kedge v. & n. --v. 1 tr. move (a ship) by means of a hawser attached
to a small anchor. 2 intr. (of a ship) move in this way. --n.
(in full kedge-anchor) a small anchor for this purpose. [perh.
a specific use of obs. cagge, dial. cadge bind, tie]
kedgeree n. 1 an Indian dish of rice, split pulse, onions, eggs, etc. 2
a European dish of fish, rice, hard-boiled eggs, etc. [Hindi
khichri, Skr. k' rsara dish of rice and sesame]
keek v. & n. Sc. --v.intr. peep. --n. a peep. [ME kike: cf. MDu.,
keel(1) n. & v. --n. 1 the lengthwise timber or steel structure along
the base of a ship, airship, or some aircraft, on which the
framework of the whole is built up. 2 poet. a ship. 3 a ridge
along the breastbone of many birds; a carina. 4 Bot. a
prow-shaped pair of petals in a corolla etc. --v. 1 (often
foll. by over) a intr. turn over or fall down. b tr. cause to
do this. 2 tr. & intr. turn keel upwards. ЬЬkeelless adj. [ME
kele f. ON kj”lr f. Gmc]
keel(2) n. Brit. hist. 1 a flat-bottomed vessel, esp. of the kind
formerly used on the River Tyne etc. for loading coal-ships. 2
an amount carried by such a vessel. [ME kele f. MLG kel, MDu.
kiel ship, boat, f. Gmc]
keelhaul v.tr. 1 drag (a person) through the water under the keel of a
ship as a punishment. 2 scold or rebuke severely.
keelson n. (also kelson) a line of timber fastening a ship's
floor-timbers to its keel. [ME kelswayn, perh. f. LG kielswin
f. kiel KEEL(1) + (prob.) swin SWINE used as the name of a
keen(1) adj. 1 (of a person, desire, or interest) eager, ardent (a keen
sportsman). 2 (foll. by on) much attracted by; fond of or
enthusiastic about. 3 (of the senses) sharp; highly sensitive.
4 intellectually acute. 5 a having a sharp edge or point. b
(of an edge etc.) sharp. 6 (of a sound, light, etc.)
penetrating, vivid, strong. 7 (of a wind, frost, etc.)
piercingly cold. 8 (of a pain etc.) acute, bitter. 9 Brit. (of
a price) competitive. 10 colloq. excellent. ЬЬkeenly adv.
keenness n. [OE cene f. Gmc]
keen(2) n. & v. --n. an Irish funeral song accompanied with wailing.
--v. 1 intr. utter the keen. 2 tr. bewail (a person) in this
way. 3 tr. utter in a wailing tone. ЬЬkeener n. [Ir. caoine
f. caoinim wail]
keep v. & n. --v. (past and past part. kept) 1 tr. have continuous
charge of; retain possession of. 2 tr. (foll. by for) retain or
reserve for a future occasion or time (will keep it for
tomorrow). 3 tr. & intr. retain or remain in a specified
condition, position, course, etc. (keep cool; keep off the
grass; keep them happy). 4 tr. put or store in a regular place
(knives are kept in this drawer). 5 tr. (foll. by from) cause
to avoid or abstain from something (will keep you from going too
fast). 6 tr. detain; cause to be late (what kept you?). 7 tr.
a observe or pay due regard to (a law, custom, etc.) (keep one's
word). b honour or fulfil (a commitment, undertaking, etc.). c
respect the commitment implied by (a secret etc.). d act
fittingly on the occasion of (keep the sabbath). 8 tr. own and
look after (animals) for amusement or profit (keeps bees). 9
tr. a provide for the sustenance of (a person, family, etc.).
b (foll. by in) maintain (a person) with a supply of. 10 tr.
carry on; manage (a shop, business, etc.). 11 a tr. maintain
(accounts, a diary, etc.) by making the requisite entries. b
tr. maintain (a house) in proper order. 12 tr. have (a
commodity) regularly on sale (do you keep buttons?). 13 tr.
guard or protect (a person or place, a goal in football, etc.).
14 tr. preserve in being; continue to have (keep order). 15
intr. (foll. by verbal noun) continue or do repeatedly or
habitually (why do you keep saying that?). 16 tr. continue to
follow (a way or course). 17 intr. a (esp. of perishable
commodities) remain in good condition. b (of news or
information etc.) admit of being withheld for a time. 18 tr.
remain in (one's bed, room, house, etc.). 19 tr. retain one's
place in (a seat or saddle, one's ground, etc.) against
opposition or difficulty. 20 tr. maintain (a person) in return
for sexual favours (a kept woman). --n. 1 maintenance or the
essentials for this (esp. food) (hardly earn your keep). 2
charge or control (is in your keep). 3 hist. a tower or
stronghold. Ьfor keeps colloq. (esp. of something received or
won) permanently, indefinitely. how are you keeping? how are
you? keep at persist or cause to persist with. keep away
(often foll. by from) 1 avoid being near. 2 prevent from being
near. keep back 1 remain or keep at a distance. 2 retard the
progress of. 3 conceal; decline to disclose. 4 retain,
withhold (kept back њ50). keep one's balance 1 remain stable;
avoid falling. 2 retain one's composure. keep down 1 hold in
subjection. 2 keep low in amount. 3 lie low; stay hidden. 4
manage not to vomit (food eaten). keep one's feet manage not to
fall. keep-fit regular exercises to promote personal fitness
and health. keep one's hair on see HAIR. keep one's hand in
see HAND. keep in 1 confine or restrain (one's feelings etc.).
2 remain or confine indoors. 3 keep (a fire) burning. keep in
with remain on good terms with. keep off 1 stay or cause to
stay away from. 2 ward off; avert. 3 abstain from. 4 avoid (a
subject) (let's keep off religion). keep on 1 continue to do
something; do continually (kept on laughing). 2 continue to use
or employ. 3 (foll. by at) pester or harass. keep out 1 keep
or remain outside. 2 exclude. keep state 1 maintain one's
dignity. 2 be difficult of access. keep to 1 adhere to (a
course, schedule, etc.). 2 observe (a promise). 3 confine
oneself to. keep to oneself 1 avoid contact with others. 2
refuse to disclose or share. keep together remain or keep in
harmony. keep track of see TRACK(1). keep under hold in
subjection. keep up 1 maintain (progress etc.). 2 prevent
(prices, one's spirits, etc.) from sinking. 3 keep in repair,
in an efficient or proper state, etc. 4 carry on (a
correspondence etc.). 5 prevent (a person) from going to bed,
esp. when late. 6 (often foll. by with) manage not to fall
behind. keep up with the Joneses strive to compete socially
with one's neighbours. keep one's word see WORD. ЬЬkeepable
adj. [OE cepan, of unkn. orig.]
keeper n. 1 a person who keeps or looks after something or someone. 2
a custodian of a museum, art gallery, forest, etc. 3 a =
GAMEKEEPER. b a person in charge of animals in a zoo. 4 a =
wicket-keeper. b = GOALKEEPER. 5 a fruit etc. that remains in
good condition. 6 a bar of soft iron across the poles of a
horseshoe magnet to maintain its strength. 7 a a plain ring to
preserve a hole in a pierced ear lobe; a sleeper. b a ring worn
to guard against the loss of a more valuable one.
keeping n. 1 custody, charge (in safe keeping). 2 agreement, harmony
(esp.in or out of keeping).
keepsake n. a thing kept for the sake of or in remembrance of the giver.
keeshond n. 1 a dog of a Dutch breed with long thick hair like a large
Pomeranian. 2 this breed. [Du.]
kef n. (also kif) 1 a drowsy state induced by marijuana etc. 2 the
enjoyment of idleness. 3 a substance smoked to produce kef.
[Arab. kayf enjoyment, well-being]
keffiyeh n. (also kaffiyeh) a Bedouin Arab's kerchief worn as a
head-dress. [Arab. keffiya, kufiyya, perh. f. LL cofea COIF]
keg n. a small barrel, usu. of less than 10 gallons or (in the US)
30 gallons. Ьkeg beer beer supplied from a sealed metal
container. [ME cag f. ON kaggi, of unkn. orig.]
keister n. US sl. 1 the buttocks. 2 a suitcase, satchel, handbag,
etc. [orig. unkn.]
keloid n. fibrous tissue formed at the site of a scar or injury. [Gk
khele claw + -OID]
kelp n. 1 any of several large broad-fronded brown seaweeds esp. of
the genus Laminaria, suitable for use as manure. 2 the calcined
ashes of seaweed formerly used in glass-making and soap
manufacture because of their high content of sodium, potassium,
and magnesium salts. [ME cЃlp(e), of unkn. orig.]
kelpie n. Sc. 1 a water-spirit, usu. in the form of a horse, reputed
to delight in the drowning of travellers etc. 2 an Australian
sheepdog orig. bred from a Scottish collie. [18th c.: orig.
kelson var. of KEELSON.
Kelt var. of CELT.
kelt n. a salmon or sea trout after spawning. [ME: orig. unkn.]
kelter var. of KILTER.
kelvin n. the SI unit of thermodynamic temperature, equal in magnitude
to the degree celsius. °Abbr.: K. ЬKelvin scale a scale of
temperature with absolute zero as zero. [Lord Kelvin, Brit.
physicist d. 1907]
kemp n. coarse hair in wool. ЬЬkempy adj. [ME f. ON kampr beard,
kempt adj. combed; neatly kept. [past part. of (now dial.) kemb
COMB v. f. OE cemban f. Gmc]
ken n. & v. --n. range of sight or knowledge (it's beyond my ken).
--v.tr. (kenning; past and past part. kenned or kent) Sc. &
N.Engl. 1 recognize at sight. 2 know. [OE cennan f. Gmc]
kendo n. a Japanese form of fencing with two-handed bamboo swords.
[Jap., = sword-way]
kennel n. & v. --n. 1 a small shelter for a dog. 2 (in pl.) a
breeding or boarding establishment for dogs. 3 a mean dwelling.
--v. (kennelled, kennelling; US kenneled, kenneling) 1 tr. put
into or keep in a kennel. 2 intr. live in or go to a kennel.
[ME f. OF chenil f. med.L canile (unrecorded) f. L canis dog]
kenning n. a compound expression in Old English and Old Norse poetry,
e.g. oar-steed = ship. [ME, = 'teaching' etc. f. KEN]
kenosis n. Theol. the renunciation of the divine nature, at least in
part, by Christ in the Incarnation. ЬЬkenotic adj. [Gk.
kenosis f. kenoo to empty f. kenos empty]
adj. Sc. conspicuous. [kenspeck of Scand. orig.: rel. to KEN]
kent past and past part. of KEN.
Kentish adj. of Kent in England. ЬKentish fire Brit. a prolonged
volley of rhythmic applause or a demonstration of dissent. [OE
Centisc f. Cent f. L Cantium]
kentledge n. Naut. pig-iron etc. used as permanent ballast. [F
quintelage ballast, with assim. to kentle obs. var. of QUINTAL]
Kenyan adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to Kenya in E. Africa. --n. a
a native or national of Kenya. b a person of Kenyan descent.
kepi n. (pl. kepis) a French military cap with a horizontal peak.
[F k‚pi f. Swiss G k„ppi dimin. of kappe cap]
n.pl. three theorems describing orbital motion. ЬЬKeplerian
adj. [J. Kepler Ger. astronomer d. 1630]
kept past and past part. of KEEP.
keratin n. a fibrous protein which occurs in hair, feathers, hooves,
claws, horns, etc. [Gk keras keratos horn + -IN]
v.tr. & intr. (also -ise) cover or become covered with a
deposit of keratin. ЬЬkeratinization n.
keratose adj. (of sponge) composed of a horny substance. [Gk keras
keratos horn + -OSE(1)]
kerb n. Brit. a stone edging to a pavement or raised path.
Ьkerb-crawler a person who indulges in kerb-crawling.
kerb-crawling the practice of driving slowly along the edge of a
road, soliciting passers-by. kerb drill precautions, esp.
looking to right and left, before crossing a road. [var. of
kerbstone n. each of a series of stones forming a kerb.
kerchief n. 1 a cloth used to cover the head. 2 poet. a handkerchief.
ЬЬkerchiefed adj. [ME curchef f. AF courchef, OF couvrechief f.
couvrir COVER + CHIEF head]
kerf n. 1 a slit made by cutting, esp. with a saw. 2 the cut end of
a felled tree. [OE cyrf f. Gmc (as CARVE)]
kerfuffle n. esp. Brit. colloq. a fuss or commotion. [Sc. curfuffle
f. fuffle to disorder: imit.]
kermes n. 1 the female of a bug, Kermes ilicis, with a berry-like
appearance. 2 (in full kermes oak) an evergreen oak, Quercus
coccifera, of S. Europe and N. Africa, on which this insect
feeds. 3 a red dye made from the dried bodies of these insects.
4 (in full kermes mineral) a bright red hydrous trisulphide of
antimony. [F kermЉs f. Arab. & Pers. kirmiz: rel. to CRIMSON]
kermis n. 1 a periodical country fair, esp. in the Netherlands. 2 US
a charity bazaar. [Du., orig. = mass on the anniversary of the
dedication of a church, when yearly fair was held: f. kerk
formed as CHURCH + mis, misse MASS(2)]
kern(1) n. Printing the part of a metal type projecting beyond its body
or shank. ЬЬkerned adj. [perh. f. F carne corner f. OF charne
f. L cardo cardinis hinge]
kern(2) n. (also kerne) 1 hist. a light-armed Irish foot-soldier. 2 a
peasant; a boor. [ME f. Ir. ceithern]
kernel n. 1 a central, softer, usu. edible part within a hard shell of
a nut, fruit stone, seed, etc. 2 the whole seed of a cereal. 3
the nucleus or essential part of anything. [OE cyrnel, dimin.
kerosine n. (also kerosene) esp. US a fuel oil suitable for use in jet
engines and domestic heating boilers; paraffin oil. [Gk keros
wax + -ENE]
Kerry n. (pl. -ies) 1 an animal of a breed of small black dairy
cattle. 2 this breed. [Kerry in Ireland]
n. 1 a terrier of a breed with a silky blue-grey coat. 2 this
kersey n. (pl. -eys) 1 a kind of coarse narrow cloth woven from long
wool, usu. ribbed. 2 a variety of this. [ME, prob. f. Kersey
n. a twilled fine woollen cloth. [alt. of cassimere, var. of
CASHMERE, assim. to KERSEY]
keskidee var. of KISKADEE.
kestrel n. any small falcon, esp. Falco tinnunculus, which hovers
whilst searching for its prey. [ME castrell, perh. f. F dial.
casserelle, F cr‚c(er)elle, perh. imit. of its cry]
ketch n. a two-masted fore-and-aft rigged sailing-boat with a
mizen-mast stepped forward of the rudder and smaller than its
foremast. [ME catche, prob. f. CATCH]
ketchup n. (also catchup) a spicy sauce made from tomatoes, mushrooms,
vinegar, etc., used as a condiment. [Chin. dial. koechiap
ketone n. any of a class of organic compounds in which two hydrocarbon
groups are linked by a carbonyl group, e.g. propanone (acetone).
Ьketone body Biochem. any of several ketones produced in the
body during the metabolism of fats. ЬЬketonic adj. [G Keton
alt. of Aketon ACETONE]
ketonuria n. the excretion of abnormally large amounts of ketone bodies
in the urine.
ketosis n. a condition characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies
in the body, associated with fat metabolism and diabetes.
kettle n. a vessel, usu. of metal with a lid, spout, and handle, for
boiling water in. Ьkettle hole a depression in the ground in a
glaciated area. a pretty kettle of fish an awkward state of
affairs. ЬЬkettleful n. (pl. -fuls). [ME f. ON ketill ult.
f. L catillus dimin. of catinus deep food-vessel]
n. a large drum shaped like a bowl with a membrane adjustable
for tension (and so pitch) stretched across. ЬЬkettledrummer n.
keV abbr. kilo-electronvolt.
Kevlar n. propr. a synthetic fibre of high tensile strength used esp.
as a reinforcing agent in the manufacture of rubber products,
kewpie n. a small chubby doll with wings and a curl or topknot.
[CUPID + -IE]
key(1) n. & v. --n. (pl. keys) 1 an instrument, usu. of metal, for
moving the bolt of a lock forwards or backwards to lock or
unlock. 2 a similar implement for operating a switch in the
form of a lock. 3 an instrument for grasping screws, pegs,
nuts, etc., esp. one for winding a clock etc. 4 a lever
depressed by the finger in playing the organ, piano, flute,
concertina, etc. 5 (often in pl.) each of several buttons for
operating a typewriter, word processor, or computer terminal,
etc. 6 what gives or precludes the opportunity for or access to
something. 7 (attrib.) essential; of vital importance (the key
element in the problem). 8 a place that by its position gives
control of a sea, territory, etc. 9 a a solution or
explanation. b a word or system for solving a cipher or code.
c an explanatory list of symbols used in a map, table, etc. d a
book of solutions to mathematical problems etc. e a literal
translation of a book written in a foreign language. f the
first move in a chess-problem solution. 10 Mus. a system of
notes definitely related to each other, based on a particular
note, and predominating in a piece of music (a study in the key
of C major). 11 a tone or style of thought or expression. 12 a
piece of wood or metal inserted between others to secure them.
13 the part of a first coat of wall plaster that passes between
the laths and so secures the rest. 14 the roughness of a
surface, helping the adhesion of plaster etc. 15 the samara of
a sycamore etc. 16 a mechanical device for making or breaking
an electric circuit, e.g. in telegraphy. --v.tr. (keys, keyed)
1 (foll. by in, on, etc.) fasten with a pin, wedge, bolt, etc.
2 (often foll. by in) enter (data) by means of a keyboard. 3
roughen (a surface) to help the adhesion of plaster etc. 4
(foll. by to) align or link (one thing to another). 5 regulate
the pitch of the strings of (a violin etc.). 6 word (an
advertisement in a particular periodical) so that answers to it
can be identified (usu. by varying the form of address given).
Ьkey industry an industry essential to the carrying on of
others, e.g. coal-mining, dyeing. key map a map in bare
outline, to simplify the use of a full map. key money Brit. a
payment demanded from an incoming tenant for the provision of a
key to the premises. key-ring a ring for keeping keys on. key
signature Mus. any of several combinations of sharps or flats
after the clef at the beginning of each staff indicating the key
of a composition. key up (often foll. by to, or to + infin.)
make (a person) nervous or tense; excite. ЬЬkeyer n. keyless
adj. [OE c‘g, of unkn. orig.]
key(2) n. a low-lying island or reef, esp. in the W. Indies (cf.
CAY). [Sp. cayo shoal, reef, infl. by QUAY]
keyboard n. & v. --n. a set of keys on a typewriter, computer, piano,
etc. --v.tr. enter (data) by means of a keyboard. ЬЬkeyboarder
keyhole n. a hole by which a key is put into a lock.
Keynesian adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the economic theories of J.
M. Keynes (d. 1946), esp. regarding State control of the
economy through money and taxation. --n. an adherent of these
theories. ЬЬKeynesianism n.
keynote n. 1 a prevailing tone or idea (the keynote of the whole
occasion). 2 (attrib.) intended to set the prevailing tone at a
meeting or conference (keynote address). 3 Mus. the note on
which a key is based.
keypad n. a miniature keyboard or set of buttons for operating a
portable electronic device, telephone, etc.
keypunch n. & v. --n. a device for transferring data by means of punched
holes or notches on a series of cards or paper tape. --v.tr.
transfer (data) by means of a keypunch. ЬЬkeypuncher n.
keystone n. 1 the central principle of a system, policy, etc., on which
all the rest depends. 2 a central stone at the summit of an
arch locking the whole together.
keystroke n. a single depression of a key on a keyboard, esp. as a
measure of work.
keyway n. a slot for receiving a machined key.
keyword n. 1 the key to a cipher etc. 2 a a word of great
significance. b a significant word used in indexing.
khaki adj. & n. --adj. dust-coloured; dull brownish-yellow. --n.
(pl. khakis) 1 khaki fabric of twilled cotton or wool, used
esp. in military dress. 2 the dull brownish-yellow colour of
this. [Urdu kaki dust-coloured f. kak dust]
khalasi n. (pl. khalasis) a native Indian servant or labourer, esp.
one employed as a seaman. [Hind.]
khamsin n. (also hamsin) an oppressive hot south or south-east wind
occurring in Egypt for about 50 days in March, April, and May.
[Arab. kamsin f. kamsun fifty]
khan(1) n. 1 a title given to rulers and officials in Central Asia,
Afghanistan, etc. 2 hist. a the supreme ruler of the Turkish,
Tartar, and Mongol tribes. b the emperor of China in the Middle
Ages. ЬЬkhanate n. [Turki kan lord]
khan(2) n. a caravanserai. [Arab. kan inn]
Khedive n. hist. the title of the viceroy of Egypt under Turkish rule
1867-1914. ЬЬKhedival adj. Khedivial adj. [F kh‚dive, ult. f.
Pers. kadiv prince]
Khmer n. & adj. --n. 1 a native of the ancient Khmer kingdom in SE
Asia, or of modern Cambodia. 2 the language of this people.
--adj. of the Khmers or their language. [native name]
kibble(2) n. Brit. an iron hoisting-bucket used in mines. [G KЃbel (cf.
OE cyfel) f. med.L cupellus, corn-measure, dimin. of cuppa cup]
kibbutz n. (pl. kibbutzim) a communal esp. farming settlement in
Israel. [mod.Heb. kibbus gathering]
n. a member of a kibbutz. [Yiddish (as KIBBUTZ)]
kibe n. an ulcerated chilblain, esp. on the heel. [ME, prob. f.
kibitka n. 1 a type of Russian hooded sledge. 2 a a Tartar's circular
tent, covered with felt. b a Tartar household. [Russ. f.
kibitz v.intr. colloq. act as a kibitzer. [Yiddish f. G kiebitzen
kibitzer n. colloq. 1 an onlooker at cards etc., esp. one who offers
unwanted advice. 2 a busybody, a meddler. [Yiddish kibitser f.
G Kiebitz lapwing, busybody]
kiblah n. (also qibla) 1 the direction of the Kaaba (the sacred
building at Mecca), to which Muslims turn at prayer. 2 =
MIHRAB. [Arab. kibla that which is opposite]
kibosh n. (also kybosh) sl. nonsense. Ьput the kibosh on put an end
to; finally dispose of. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
kick(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. strike or propel forcibly with the foot or
hoof etc. 2 intr. (usu. foll. by at, against) a strike out with
the foot. b express annoyance at or dislike of (treatment, a
proposal etc.); rebel against. 3 tr. sl. give up (a habit). 4
tr. (often foll. by out etc.) expel or dismiss forcibly. 5
refl. be annoyed with oneself (I'll kick myself if I'm wrong).
6 tr. Football score (a goal) by a kick. 7 intr. Cricket (of
a ball) rise sharply from the pitch. --n. 1 a a blow with the
foot or hoof etc. b the delivery of such a blow. 2 colloq. a
a sharp stimulant effect, esp. of alcohol (has some kick in it;
a cocktail with a kick in it). b (often in pl.) a pleasurable
thrill (did it just for kicks; got a kick out of flying). 3
strength, resilience (have no kick left). 4 colloq. a specified
temporary interest or enthusiasm (on a jogging kick). 5 the
recoil of a gun when discharged. 6 Brit. Football colloq. a
player of specified kicking ability (is a good kick). Ьkick
about (or around) colloq. 1 a drift idly from place to place.
b be unused or unwanted. 2 a treat roughly or scornfully. b
discuss (an idea) unsystematically. kick against the pricks see
PRICK. kick the bucket sl. die. kick-down a device for
changing gear in a motor vehicle by full depression of the
accelerator. kick one's heels see HEEL. kick in 1 knock down
(a door etc.) by kicking. 2 esp. US sl. contribute (esp.
money); pay one's share. kick in the pants (or teeth) colloq.
a humiliating punishment or set-back. kick off 1 a Football
begin or resume a match. b colloq. begin. 2 remove (shoes
etc.) by kicking. kick-off 1 Football the start or resumption
of a match. 2 (in for a kick-off) colloq. for a start (that's
wrong for a kick-off). kick over the traces see TRACE(2).
kick-pleat a pleat in a narrow skirt to allow freedom of
movement. kick-turn a standing turn in skiing. kick up (or
kick up a fuss, dust, etc.) create a disturbance; object or
register strong disapproval. kick up one's heels frolic. kick
a person upstairs shelve a person by giving him or her promotion
or a title. ЬЬkickable adj. kicker n. [ME kike, of unkn.
kick(2) n. an indentation in the bottom of a glass bottle. [19th c.:
kickback n. colloq. 1 the force of a recoil. 2 payment for
collaboration, esp. collaboration for profit.
kickshaw n. 1 archaic, usu. derog. a fancy dish in cookery. 2
something elegant but insubstantial; a toy or trinket. [F
quelque chose something]
n. colloq. a device for analysing electrical pulses according
kickstand n. a rod attached to a bicycle or motor cycle and kicked into a
vertical position to support the vehicle when stationary.
n. & v. --n. (also kick-starter) a device to start the engine
of a motor cycle etc. by the downward thrust of a pedal.
--v.tr. start (a motor cycle etc.) in this way.
kid(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a young goat. 2 the leather made from its
skin. 3 sl. a child or young person. --v.intr. (kidded,
kidding) (of a goat) give birth. Ьhandle with kid gloves handle
in a gentle, delicate, or gingerly manner. kid brother (or
sister) sl. a younger brother or sister. kid-glove (attrib.)
dainty or delicate. kids' stuff sl. something very simple.
[ME kide f. ON kith f. Gmc]
kid(2) v. (kidded, kidding) colloq. 1 tr. & also refl. deceive, trick
(don't kid yourself; kidded his mother that he was ill). 2 tr.
& intr. tease (only kidding). Ьno kidding (or kid) sl. that is
the truth. ЬЬkidder n. kiddingly adv. [perh. f. KID(1)]
kid(3) n. hist. a small wooden tub, esp. a sailor's mess tub for grog
or rations. [perh. var. of KIT(1)]
n. a carpet made of two cloths of different colours woven
together so that the carpet is reversible. [Kidderminster in S.
kiddie n. (also kiddy) (pl. -ies) sl. = KID(1) n. 3.
kiddle n. 1 a barrier in a river with an opening fitted with nets etc.
to catch fish. 2 an arrangement of fishing-nets hung on stakes
along the seashore. [ME f. AF kidel, OF quidel, guidel]
kiddo n. (pl. -os) sl. = KID(1) n. 3.
kiddy var. of KIDDIE.
kidnap v.tr. (kidnapped, kidnapping; US kidnaped, kidnaping) 1 carry
off (a person etc.) by illegal force or fraud esp. to obtain a
ransom. 2 steal (a child). ЬЬkidnapper n. [back-form. f.
kidnapper f. KID(1) + nap = NAB]
kidney n. (pl. -eys) 1 either of a pair of organs in the abdominal
cavity of mammals, birds, and reptiles, which remove nitrogenous
wastes from the blood and excrete urine. 2 the kidney of a
sheep, ox, or pig as food. 3 temperament, nature, kind (a man
of that kidney; of the right kidney). Ьkidney bean 1 a dwarf
French bean. 2 a scarlet runner bean. kidney dish a
kidney-shaped dish, esp. one used in surgery. kidney machine =
artificial kidney. kidney-shaped shaped like a kidney, with one
side concave and the other convex. kidney vetch a herbaceous
plant, Anthyllis vulneraria: also called lady's finger. [ME
kidnei, pl. kidneiren, app. partly f. ei EGG(1)]
kidskin n. = KID(1) n. 2.
kiekie n. a New Zealand climbing plant with edible bracts, and leaves
which are used for basket-making etc. [Maori]
n. diatomaceous earth forming deposits in lakes and ponds and
used as a filter, filler, insulator, etc., in various
manufacturing processes. [G f. Kiesel gravel + dial. Guhr
kif var. of KEF.
kike n. esp. US sl. offens. a Jew. [20th c.: orig. uncert.]
Kikuyu n. & adj. --n. (pl. same or Kikuyus) 1 a member of an
agricultural Negro people, the largest Bantu-speaking group in
Kenya. 2 the language of this people. --adj. of or relating to
this people or their language. [native name]
kilderkin n. 1 a cask for liquids etc., holding 16 or 18 gallons. 2 this
measure. [ME, alt. of kinderkin f. MDu. kinde(r)kin, kinneken,
dimin. of kintal QUINTAL]
kill v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a deprive of life or vitality; put to death;
cause the death of. b (absol.) cause or bring about death (must
kill to survive). 2 destroy; put an end to (feelings etc.)
(overwork killed my enthusiasm). 3 refl. (often foll. by pres.
part.) colloq. a overexert oneself (don't kill yourself
lifting them all at once). b laugh heartily. 4 colloq.
overwhelm (a person) with amusement, delight, etc. (the things
he says really kill me). 5 switch off (a spotlight, engine,
etc.). 6 colloq. delete (a line, paragraph, etc.) from a
computer file. 7 colloq. cause pain or discomfort to (my feet
are killing me). 8 pass (time, or a specified amount of it)
usu. while waiting for a specific event (had an hour to kill
before the interview). 9 defeat (a bill in Parliament). 10
colloq. consume the entire contents of (a bottle of wine etc.).
11 a Tennis etc. hit (the ball) so skilfully that it cannot be
returned. b stop (the ball) dead. 12 neutralize or render
ineffective (taste, sound, colour, etc.) (thick carpet killed
the sound of footsteps). --n. 1 an act of killing (esp. an
animal). 2 an animal or animals killed, esp. by a sportsman. 3
colloq. the destruction or disablement of an enemy aircraft,
submarine, etc. Ьdressed to kill dressed showily, alluringly,
or impressively. in at the kill present at or benefiting from
the successful conclusion of an enterprise. kill off 1 get rid
of or destroy completely (esp. a number of persons or things).
2 (of an author) bring about the death of (a fictional
character). kill or cure (usu. attrib.) (of a remedy etc.)
drastic, extreme. kill two birds with one stone achieve two
aims at once. kill with kindness spoil (a person) with
overindulgence. [ME cЃlle, kille, perh. ult. rel. to QUELL]
killdeer n. a large American plover, Charadrius vociferus, with a
plaintive song. [imit.]
killer n. 1 a a person, animal, or thing that kills. b a murderer. 2
colloq. a an impressive, formidable, or excellent thing (this
one is quite difficult, but the next one is a real killer). b a
hilarious joke. c a decisive blow (his brilliant header proved
to be the killer). Ьkiller instinct 1 an innate tendency to
kill. 2 a ruthless streak. killer whale a voracious cetacean,
Orcinus orca, with a white belly and prominent dorsal fin.
killick n. 1 a heavy stone used by small craft as an anchor. 2 a small
anchor. 3 Brit. navalsl. a leading seaman. [17th c.: orig.
killifish n. 1 any small fresh- or brackish-water fish of the family
Cyprinodontidae, many of which are brightly coloured. 2 a
brightly-coloured tropical aquarium fish, Pterolebias peruensis.
[perh. f. kill stream f. Du. kil + FISH(1)]
killing n. & adj. --n. 1 a the causing of death. b an instance of
this. 2 a great (esp. financial) success (make a killing).
--adj. colloq. 1 overwhelmingly funny. 2 exhausting; very
strenuous. Ьkilling-bottle a bottle containing poisonous vapour
to kill insects collected as specimens. ЬЬkillingly adv.
killjoy n. a person who throws gloom over or prevents other people's
kiln n. a furnace or oven for burning, baking, or drying, esp. for
calcining lime or firing pottery etc. [OE cylene f. L culina
kiln-dry v.tr. (-ies, -ied) dry in a kiln.
kilo n. (pl. -os) 1 a kilogram. 2 a kilometre. [F: abbr.]
kilo- comb. form denoting a factor of 1,000 (esp. in metric units).
°Abbr.: k, or K in Computing. [F f. Gk khilioi thousand]
kilobyte n. Computing 1,024 (i.e. 2(10)) bytes as a measure of memory
n. = CALORIE 2.
kilocycle n. a former measure of frequency, equivalent to 1 kilohertz.
kilogram n. (also -gramme) the SI unit of mass, equivalent to the
international standard kept at SЉvres near Paris (approx. 2.205
lb.). °Abbr.: kg. [F kilogramme (as KILO, GRAM(1))]
kilohertz n. a measure of frequency equivalent to 1,000 cycles per
second. °Abbr.: kHz.
kilojoule n. 1,000 joules, esp. as a measure of the energy value of
foods. °Abbr.: kJ.
kilolitre n. (US -liter) 1,000 litres (equivalent to 220 imperial
gallons). °Abbr.: kl.
kilometre disp. n. (US kilometer) a metric unit of measurement equal to
1,000 metres (approx. 0.62 miles). °Abbr.: km. ЬЬkilometric
adj. [F kilomЉtre (as KILO-, METRE(1))]
kiloton n. (also kilotonne) a unit of explosive power equivalent to
1,000 tons of TNT.
kilovolt n. 1,000 volts. °Abbr.: kV.
kilowatt n. 1,000 watts. °Abbr.: kW.
n. a measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power
consumption of 1,000 watts for one hour. °Abbr.: kWh.
kilt n. & v. --n. 1 a skirtlike garment, usu. of pleated tartan
cloth and reaching to the knees, as traditionally worn by
Highland men. 2 a similar garment worn by women and children.
--v.tr. 1 tuck up (skirts) round the body. 2 (esp. as kilted
adj.) gather in vertical pleats. ЬЬkilted adj. [orig. as verb:
ME, of Scand. orig.]
kilter n. (also kelter) good working order (esp. out of kilter).
[17th c.: orig. unkn.]
kiltie n. a wearer of a kilt, esp. a kilted Highland soldier.
n. Mineral. a rare igneous blue-tinged rock sometimes
containing diamonds, found in South Africa and Siberia. Also
called blue ground (see BLUE(1)). [Kimberley in S. Africa]
kimono n. (pl. -os) 1 a long loose Japanese robe worn with a sash. 2
a European dressing-gown modelled on this. ЬЬkimonoed adj.
kin n. & adj. --n. one's relatives or family. --predic.adj. (of a
person) related (we are kin; he is kin to me) (see also AKIN).
Ьkith and kin see KITH. near of kin closely related by blood,
or in character. next of kin see NEXT. ЬЬkinless adj. [OE
cynn f. Gmc]
-kin suffix forming diminutive nouns (catkin; manikin). [from or
after MDu. -kijn, -ken, OHG -chin]
kina n. the monetary unit of Papua New Guinea. [Papuan]
n. (US kinesthesia) a sense of awareness of the position and
movement of the voluntary muscles of the body. ЬЬkinaesthetic
adj. [Gk kineo move + aisthesis sensation]
kincob n. a rich Indian fabric embroidered with gold or silver. [Urdu
f. Pers. kamkab f. kamka damask]
kind(1) n. 1 a a race or species (human kind). b a natural group of
animals, plants, etc. (the wolf kind). 2 class, type, sort,
variety (what kind of job are you looking for?). °In sense 2,
these (or those) kind is often encountered when followed by a
plural, as in I don't like these kind of things, but this kind
and these kinds are usually preferred. 3 each of the elements
of the Eucharist (communion under (or in) both kinds). 4 the
manner or fashion natural to a person etc. (act after their
kind; true to kind). Ьkind of colloq. to some extent (felt
kind of sorry; I kind of expected it). a kind of used to imply
looseness, vagueness, exaggeration, etc., in the term used (a
kind of Jane Austen of our times; I suppose he's a kind of
doctor). in kind 1 in the same form, likewise (was insulted and
replied in kind). 2 (of payment) in goods or labour as opposed
to money (received their wages in kind). 3 character, quality
(differ in degree but not in kind). law of kind archaic nature
in general; the natural order. nothing of the kind 1 not at all
like the thing in question. 2 (expressing denial) not at all.
of its kind within the limitations of its own class (good of its
kind). of a kind 1 derog. scarcely deserving the name (a choir
of a kind). 2 similar in some important respect (they're two of
a kind). one's own kind those with whom one has much in common.
something of the kind something like the thing in question. [OE
cynd(e), gecynd(e) f. Gmc]
kind(2) adj. 1 of a friendly, generous, benevolent, or gentle nature.
2 (usu. foll. by to) showing friendliness, affection, or
consideration. 3 a affectionate. b archaic loving. [OE
gecynde (as KIND(1)): orig. = 'natural, native']
kinda colloq. = kind of. [corrupt.]
n. an establishment for preschool learning. [G, = children's
adj. of a kind disposition. ЬЬkind-heartedly adv.
kindle v. 1 tr. light or set on fire (a flame, fire, substance, etc.).
2 intr. catch fire, burst into flame. 3 tr. arouse or inspire
(kindle enthusiasm for the project; kindle jealousy in a rival).
4 intr. (usu. foll. by to) respond, react (to a person, an
action, etc.) (kindle to his courage). 5 intr. become animated,
glow with passion etc. (her imagination kindled). 6 tr. & intr.
make or become bright (kindle the embers to a glow). ЬЬkindler
n. [ME f. ON kynda, kindle: cf. ON kindill candle, torch]
kindling n. small sticks etc. for lighting fires.
kindly(1) adv. 1 in a kind manner (spoke to the child kindly). 2 often
iron. used in a polite request or demand (kindly acknowledge
this letter; kindly leave me alone). Ьlook kindly upon regard
sympathetically. take a thing kindly like or be pleased by it.
take kindly to be pleased by or endeared to (a person or thing).
thank kindly thank very much. [OE gecyndelice (as KIND(2))]
kindness n. 1 the state or quality of being kind. 2 a kind act .
kindred n. & adj. --n. 1 one's relations, referred to collectively. 2
a relationship by blood. 3 a resemblance or affinity in
character. --adj. 1 related by blood or marriage. 2 allied or
similar in character (other kindred symptoms). Ьkindred spirit
a person whose character and outlook have much in common with
one's own. [ME f. KIN + -red f. OE r‘den condition]
kine archaic pl. of COW(1).
n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) the branch of mechanics concerned
with the motion of objects without reference to the forces which
cause the motion. ЬЬkinematic adj. kinematically adv. [Gk
kinema -matos motion f. kineo move + -ICS]
var. of CINEMATOGRAPH.
kinesics n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) 1 the study of body movements and
gestures which contribute to communication. 2 these movements;
body language. [Gk kinesis motion (as KINETIC)]
n. the study of the mechanics of body movements.
US var. of KINAESTHESIA.
kinetic adj. of or due to motion. Ьkinetic art a form of art that
depends on movement for its effect. kinetic energy the energy
of motion. kinetic theory a theory which explains the physical
properties of matter in terms of the motions of its constituent
particles. ЬЬkinetically adv. [Gk kinetikos f. kineo move]
kinetics n.pl. 1 = DYNAMICS 1a. 2 (usu. treated as sing.) the branch of
physical chemistry concerned with measuring and studying the
rates of chemical reactions.
kinetin n. Biochem. a synthetic kinin used to stimulate cell division
in plants. [as KINETIC + -IN]
kinfolk US var. of KINSFOLK.
king n. & v. --n. 1 (as a title usu. King) a male sovereign, esp.
the hereditary ruler of an independent State. 2 a person or
thing pre-eminent in a specified field or class (railway king).
3 a large (or the largest) kind of plant, animal, etc. (king
penguin). 4 Chess the piece on each side which the opposing
side has to checkmate to win. 5 a piece in draughts with extra
capacity of moving, made by crowning an ordinary piece that has
reached the opponent's baseline. 6 a court-card bearing a
representation of a king and usu. ranking next below an ace. 7
(the King) (in the UK) the national anthem when there is a male
sovereign. 8 (Kings or Books of Kings) two Old Testament books
dealing with history, esp. of the kingdom of Judah. --v.tr.
make (a person) king. ЬKing Charles spaniel a spaniel of a
small black and tan breed. king cobra a large and venomous
hooded Indian snake, Ophiophagus hannah. king-crab 1 =
horseshoe crab. 2 US any of various large edible spider crabs.
king-fish any of various large fish, esp. the opah or mulloway.
king it 1 play or act the king. 2 (usu. foll. by over) govern,
control. King James Bible (or Version) = Authorized Version
(see AUTHORIZE). King of Arms Heraldry (in the UK) a chief
herald (at the College of Arms: Garter, Clarenceux, and Norroy
and Ulster; in Scotland: Lyon). king of beasts the lion. king
of birds the eagle. King of the Castle a children's game
consisting of trying to displace a rival from a mound. King of
Kings 1 God. 2 the title assumed by many eastern kings.
king-post an upright post from the tie-beam of a roof to the
apex of a truss. King's Bench see BENCH. king's bishop, knight
, etc. Chess (of pieces which exist in pairs) the piece starting
on the king's side of the board. King's bounty see BOUNTY.
King's colour see COLOUR. King's Counsel see COUNSEL. King's
English see ENGLISH. King's evidence see EVIDENCE. king's evil
hist. scrofula, formerly held to be curable by the royal touch.
King's Guide see GUIDE. King's highway see HIGHWAY. king-size
(or -sized) larger than normal; very large. King's Messenger
see MESSENGER. king's pawn Chess the pawn in front of the king
at the beginning of a game. King's Proctor see PROCTOR. king's
ransom a fortune. King's Scout see SCOUT(1). King's speech see
SPEECH. ЬЬkinghood n. kingless adj. kinglike adj. kingly
adj. kingliness n. kingship n. [OE cyning, cyng f. Gmc]
kingbird n. any flycatcher of the genus Tyrannus, with olive-grey
plumage and long pointed wings.
kingbolt n. = KINGPIN.
kingcraft n. archaic the skilful exercise of kingship.
kingcup n. Brit. a marsh marigold.
kingdom n. 1 an organized community headed by a king. 2 the territory
subject to a king. 3 a the spiritual reign attributed to God
(Thy kingdom come). b the sphere of this (kingdom of heaven).
4 a domain belonging to a person, animal, etc. 5 a province of
nature (the vegetable kingdom). 6 a specified mental or
emotional province (kingdom of the heart; kingdom of fantasy).
7 Biol. the highest category in taxonomic classification. Ьcome
into (or to) one's kingdom achieve recognition or supremacy.
kingdom come sl. eternity; the next world. till kingdom come
sl. for ever. ЬЬkingdomed adj. [OE cyningdom (as KING)]
n. any bird of the family Alcedinidae esp. Alcedo atthis with
a long sharp beak and brightly coloured plumage, which dives for
fish in rivers etc.
kinglet n. 1 a petty king. 2 US any of various small birds of the
family Regulidae, esp. the goldcrest.
kingmaker n. a person who makes kings, leaders, etc., through the
exercise of political influence, orig. with ref. to the Earl of
Warwick in the reign of Henry VI of England.
kingpin n. 1 a a main or large bolt in a central position. b a
vertical bolt used as a pivot. 2 an essential person or thing,
esp. in a complex system.
kinin n. 1 any of a group of polypeptides present in the blood after
tissue damage. 2 any of a group of compounds which promote cell
division and inhibit ageing in plants. [Gk kineo move + -IN]
kink n. & v. --n. 1 a a short backward twist in wire or tubing etc.
such as may cause an obstruction. b a tight wave in human or
animal hair. 2 a mental twist or quirk. --v.intr. & tr. form
or cause to form a kink. [MLG kinke (v.) prob. f. Du. kinken]
kinkajou n. a Central and S. American nocturnal fruit-eating mammal,
Potos flavus, with a prehensile tail and living in trees. [F
quincajou f. N.Amer. Ind.: cf. Algonquin kwingwaage wolverine]
kinky adj. (kinkier, kinkiest) 1 colloq. a given to or involving
abnormal sexual behaviour. b (of clothing etc.) bizarre in a
sexually provocative way. 2 strange, eccentric. 3 having kinks
or twists. ЬЬkinkily adv. kinkiness n. [KINK + -Y(1)]
kino n. (pl. -os) a catechu-like gum produced by various trees and
used in medicine and tanning as an astringent. [W. Afr.]
-kins suffix = -KIN, often with suggestions of endearment (babykins).
kinsfolk n.pl. (US kinfolk) one's relations by blood.
kinship n. 1 blood relationship. 2 the sharing of characteristics or
kinsman n. (pl. -men; fem. kinswoman, pl. -women) 1 a blood relation
or disp. a relation by marriage. 2 a member of one's own tribe
kiosk n. 1 a light open-fronted booth or cubicle from which food,
newspapers, tickets, etc. are sold. 2 a telephone box. 3
Austral. a building in which refreshments are served in a park,
zoo, etc. 4 a light open pavilion in Turkey and Iran. [F
kiosque f. Turk. kiushk pavilion f. Pers. gus]
kip(1) n. & v. Brit. sl. --n. 1 a sleep or nap. 2 a bed or cheap
lodging-house. 3 (also kip-house or -shop) a brothel.
--v.intr. (kipped, kipping) sleep, take a nap. [cf. Da. kippe
kip(2) n. the hide of a young or small animal as used for leather.
[ME: orig. unkn.]
kip(3) n. (pl. same or kips) the basic monetary unit of Laos. [Thai]
kip(4) n. Austral. sl. a small piece of wood from which coins are
spun in the game of two-up. [perh. f. E dial.: cf. keper a
flat piece of wood preventing a horse from eating the corn, or
Ir. dial. kippeen f. Ir. cipЎn a little stick]
kipper n. & v. --n. 1 a kippered fish, esp. herring. 2 a male salmon
in the spawning season. --v.tr. cure (a herring etc.) by
splitting open, salting, and drying in the open air or smoke.
[ME: orig. uncert.]
kipsie n. (also kipsy) (pl. -ies) Austral. sl. a house, home,
lean-to, or shelter. [perh. f. KIP(1)]
kir n. a drink made from dry white wine and crЉme de cassis.
[Canon Felix Kir d. 1968, said to have invented the recipe]
n. (also Kirbigrip propr.) a type of sprung hairgrip. [Kirby,
part of orig. manufacturer's name]
Kirghiz n. & adj. --n. (pl. same) 1 a member of a Mongol people living
in central Asia between the Volga and the Irtysh rivers. 2 the
language of this people. --adj. of or relating to this people
or their language. [Kirghiz]
kirk n. Sc. & N.Engl. 1 a church. 2 (the Kirk or the Kirk of
Scotland) the Church of Scotland as distinct from the Church of
England or from the Episcopal Church in Scotland. ЬKirk-session
1 the lowest court in the Church of Scotland. 2 hist. the
lowest court in other Presbyterian Churches, composed of
ministers and elders. [ME f. ON kirkja f. OE cir(i)ce CHURCH]
kirkman n. (pl. -men) Sc. & N.Engl. a member of the Church of
kirsch n. (also kirschwasser) a brandy distilled from the fermented
juice of cherries. [G Kirsche cherry, Wasser water]
kirtle n. archaic 1 a woman's gown or outer petticoat. 2 a man's
tunic or coat. [OE cyrtel f. Gmc, ult. perh. f. L curtus short]
kiskadee n. (also keskidee) a tyrant flycatcher, Pitangus sulphuratus,
of Central and S. America with brown and yellow plumage. [imit.
of its cry]
kismet n. destiny, fate. [Turk. f. Arab. kisma(t) f. kasama divide]
kiss v. & n. --v. 1 tr. touch with the lips, esp. as a sign of
love, affection, greeting, or reverence. 2 tr. express
(greeting or farewell) in this way. 3 absol. (of two persons)
touch each others' lips in this way. 4 tr. (also absol.) (of a
snooker ball etc. in motion) lightly touch (another ball). --n.
1 a touch with the lips in kissing. 2 the slight impact when
one snooker ball etc. lightly touches another. 3 a small
sweetmeat or piece of confectionery. Ьkiss and tell recount
one's sexual exploits. kiss a person's arse coarse sl. act
obsequiously towards a person. kiss away remove (tears etc.) by
kissing. kiss-curl a small curl of hair on the forehead, at the
nape, or in front of the ear. kiss the dust submit abjectly; be
overthrown. kiss goodbye to colloq. accept the loss of. kiss
the ground prostrate oneself as a token of homage. kissing
cousin (or kin or kind) a distant relative (given a formal kiss
on occasional meetings). kissing-gate Brit. a gate hung in a
V- or U-shaped enclosure, to let one person through at a time.
kiss of death an apparently friendly act which causes ruin.
kiss off sl. 1 dismiss, get rid of. 2 go away, die. kiss of
life mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. kiss of peace Eccl. a
ceremonial kiss, esp. during the Eucharist, as a sign of unity.
kiss the rod accept chastisement submissively. ЬЬkissable adj.
[OE cyssan f. Gmc]
kisser n. 1 a person who kisses. 2 (orig. Boxing) sl. the mouth; the
kissogram n. (also Kissagram propr.) a novelty telegram or greetings
message delivered with a kiss.
kissy adj. colloq. given to kissing (not the kissy type).
kist var. of CIST(1).
Kiswahili n. one of the six languages preferred for use in Africa by the
Organization for African Unity. [Swahili ki- prefix for an
abstract or inanimate object]
kit(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a set of articles, equipment, or clothing
needed for a specific purpose (first-aid kit; bicycle-repair
kit). 2 the clothing etc. needed for any activity, esp. sport
(football kit). 3 a set of all the parts needed to assemble an
item, e.g. a piece of furniture, a model, etc. 4 Brit. a
wooden tub. --v.tr. (kitted, kitting) (often foll. by out, up)
equip with the appropriate clothing or tools. [ME f. MDu.
kitte wooden vessel, of unkn. orig.]
kit(2) n. 1 a kitten. 2 a young fox, badger, etc. [abbr.]
kit(3) n. hist. a small fiddle esp. as used by a dancing-master.
[perh. f. L cithara; see CITTERN]
kitbag n. a large, usu. cylindrical bag used for carrying a soldier's,
traveller's, or sportsman's equipment.
kit-cat n. (in full kit-cat portrait) a portrait of less than half
length, but including one hand; usu. 36 x 28 in. [named after
a series of portraits of the members of the Kit-Cat Club, an
early 18th-c. Whig society]
kitchen n. 1 the room or area where food is prepared and cooked. 2
(attrib.) of or belonging to the kitchen (kitchen knife; kitchen
table). 3 sl. the percussion section of an orchestra.
Ьeverything but the kitchen sink everything imaginable. kitchen
cabinet a group of unofficial advisers thought to be unduly
influential. kitchen garden a garden where vegetables and
sometimes fruit or herbs are grown. kitchen midden a
prehistoric refuse-heap which marks an ancient settlement,
chiefly containing bones, seashells, etc. kitchen-sink (in art
forms) depicting extreme realism, esp. drabness or sordidness
(kitchen-sink school of painting; kitchen-sink drama). kitchen
tea Austral. & NZ a party held before a wedding to which female
guests bring items of kitchen equipment as presents. [OE cycene
f. L coquere cook]
n. Austral. a cream-filled bun coated with cinnamon and sugar.
[1st Earl Kitchener d. 1916]
n. a small kitchen or part of a room fitted as a kitchen.
n. the utensils used in the kitchen.
kite n. & v. --n. 1 a toy consisting of a light framework with thin
material stretched over it, flown in the wind at the end of a
long string. 2 any of various soaring birds of prey esp. of the
genus Milvus with long wings and usu. a forked tail. 3 Brit.
sl. an aeroplane. 4 sl. a fraudulent cheque, bill, or receipt.
5 Geom. a quadrilateral figure symmetrical about one diagonal.
6 sl. a letter or note, esp. one that is illicit or
surreptitious. 7 (in pl.) the highest sail of a ship, set only
in a light wind. 8 archaic a dishonest person, a sharper. --v.
1 intr. soar like a kite. 2 tr. (also absol.) originate or pass
(fraudulent cheques, bills, or receipts). 3 tr. (also absol.)
raise (money by dishonest means) (kite a loan). Ьkite balloon a
sausage-shaped captive balloon for military observations.
kite-flying fraudulent practice. [OE cyta, of unkn. orig.]
Kitemark n. (in the UK) the official kite-shaped mark on goods approved
by the British Standards Institution.
kith n. Ьkith and kin friends and relations. [OE cythth f. Gmc]
kitsch n. (often attrib.) garish, pretentious, or sentimental art,
usu. vulgar and worthless (kitsch plastic models of the royal
family). ЬЬkitschy adj. (kitschier, kitschiest). kitschiness
kitten n. & v. --n. 1 a young cat. 2 a young ferret etc. --v.intr.
& tr. (of a cat etc.) give birth or give birth to. Ьhave
kittens Brit. colloq. be extremely upset, anxious, or nervous.
[ME kito(u)n, ketoun f. OF chitoun, chetoun dimin. of chat CAT]
kittenish adj. 1 like a young cat; playful and lively. 2 flirtatious.
ЬЬkittenishly adv. kittenishness n. [KITTEN]
kittiwake n. either of two small gulls, Rissa tridactyla and R.
brevirostris, nesting on sea cliffs. [imit. of its cry]
kittle adj. (also kittle-cattle) 1 (of a person) capricious, rash, or
erratic in behaviour. 2 difficult to deal with. [ME (now Sc. &
dial.) kittle tickle, prob. f. ON kitla]
kitty(1) n. (pl. -ies) 1 a fund of money for communal use. 2 the pool
in some card-games. 3 the jack in bowls. [19th c.: orig.
kitty(2) n. (pl. -ies) a pet-name or a child's name for a kitten or
kiwi n. (pl. kiwis) 1 a flightless New Zealand bird of the genus
Apteryx with hairlike feathers and a long bill. Also called
APTERYX. 2 (Kiwi) colloq. a New Zealander, esp. a soldier or
member of a national sports team. Ьkiwi fruit (or berry) the
fruit of a climbing plant, Actinidia chinensis, having a thin
hairy skin, green flesh, and black seeds: also called Chinese
knack n. 1 an acquired or intuitive faculty of doing a thing
adroitly. 2 a trick or habit of action or speech etc. (has a
knack of offending people). 3 archaic an ingenious device (see
KNICK-KNACK). [ME, prob. identical with knack sharp blow or
sound f. LG, ult. imit.]
knacker n. & v. Brit. --n. 1 a buyer of useless horses for slaughter.
2 a buyer of old houses, ships, etc. for the materials. --v.tr.
sl. 1 kill. 2 (esp. as knackered adj.) exhaust, wear out.
[19th c.: orig. unkn.]
knackery n. (pl. -ies) a knacker's yard or business.
knag n. 1 a knot in wood; the base of a branch. 2 a short dead
branch. 3 a peg for hanging things on. ЬЬknaggy adj. [ME,
perh. f. LG Knagge]
knap(1) n. chiefly dial. the crest of a hill or of rising ground. [OE
cn‘p(p), perh. rel. to ON knappr knob]
knap(2) v.tr. (knapped, knapping) 1 break (stones for roads or
building, flints, or Austral. ore) with a hammer. 2 archaic
knock, rap, snap asunder. ЬЬknapper n. [ME, imit.]
knapsack n. a soldier's or hiker's bag with shoulder-straps, carried on
the back, and usu. made of canvas or weatherproof material.
[MLG, prob. f. knappen bite + SACK(1)]
knapweed n. any of various plants of the genus Centaurea, having
thistle-like purple flowers. [ME, orig. knopweed f. KNOP +
knar n. a knot or protuberance in a tree trunk, root, etc. [ME
knarre, rel. to MLG, M.Du., MHG knorre knobbed protuberance]
knave n. 1 a rogue, a scoundrel. 2 = JACK(1) n. 2. ЬЬknavery n.
(pl. -ies). knavish adj. knavishly adv. knavishness n. [OE
cnafa boy, servant, f. WG]
knawel n. any low-growing plant of the genus Scleranthus. [G Knauel]
knead v.tr. 1 a work (a yeast mixture, clay, etc.) into dough, paste,
etc. by pummelling. b make (bread, pottery, etc.) in this way.
2 blend or weld together (kneaded them into a unified group). 3
massage (muscles etc.) as if kneading. ЬЬkneadable adj.
kneader n. [OE cnedan f. Gmc]
knee n. & v. --n. 1 a (often attrib.) the joint between the thigh
and the lower leg in humans. b the corresponding joint in other
animals. c the area around this. d the upper surface of the
thigh of a sitting person; the lap (held her on his knee). 2
the part of a garment covering the knee. 3 anything resembling
a knee in shape or position, esp. a piece of wood or iron bent
at an angle, a sharp turn in a graph, etc. --v.tr. (knees,
kneed, kneeing) 1 touch or strike with the knee (kneed the ball
past him; kneed him in the groin). 2 colloq. cause (trousers)
to bulge at the knee. Ьbend (or bow) the knee kneel, esp. in
submission. bring a person to his or her knees reduce a person
to submission. knee-bend the action of bending the knee, esp.
as a physical exercise in which the body is raised and lowered
without the use of the hands. knee-breeches close-fitting
trousers reaching to or just below the knee. knee-deep 1 (usu.
foll. by in) a immersed up to the knees. b deeply involved. 2
so deep as to reach the knees. knee-high so high as to reach
the knees. knee-hole a space for the knees, esp. under a desk.
knee-jerk 1 a sudden involuntary kick caused by a blow on the
tendon just below the knee. 2 (attrib.) predictable, automatic,
stereotyped. knee-joint 1 = senses 1a, b of n. 2 a joint made
of two pieces hinged together. knee-length reaching the knees.
knee-pan the kneecap. knees-up Brit. colloq. a lively party
or gathering. on (or on one's) bended knee (or knees) kneeling,
esp. in supplication, submission, or worship. [OE cneo(w)]
kneecap n. & v. --n. 1 the convex bone in front of the knee-joint. 2
a protective covering for the knee. --v.tr. (-capped,
-capping) colloq. shoot (a person) in the knee or leg as a
punishment, esp. for betraying a terrorist group. ЬЬkneecapping
kneel v.intr. (past and past part. knelt or esp. US kneeled) fall
or rest on the knees or a knee. [OE cneowlian (as KNEE)]
kneeler n. 1 a hassock or cushion used for kneeling, esp. in church. 2
a person who kneels.
knell n. & v. --n. 1 the sound of a bell, esp. when rung solemnly
for a death or funeral. 2 an announcement, event, etc.,
regarded as a solemn warning of disaster. --v. 1 intr. a (of
a bell) ring solemnly, esp. for a death or funeral. b make a
doleful or ominous sound. 2 tr. proclaim by or as by a knell
(knelled the death of all their hopes). Ьring the knell of
announce or herald the end of. [OE cnyll, cnyllan: perh. infl.
knelt past and past part. of KNEEL.
Knesset n. the parliament of modern Israel. [Heb., lit. gathering]
knew past of KNOW.
n. 1 (in pl.) loose-fitting breeches gathered at the knee or
calf. 2 (Knickerbocker) a a New Yorker. b a descendant of the
original Dutch settlers in New York. ЬKnickerbocker Glory
ice-cream served with other ingredients in a tall glass.
[Diedrich Knickerbocker, pretended author of W. Irving's History
of New York (1809)]
knickers n.pl. 1 Brit. a woman's or girl's undergarment covering the
body from the waist or hips to the top of the thighs and having
leg-holes or separate legs. 2 esp. US a knickerbockers. b a
boy's short trousers. 3 (as int.) Brit. sl. an expression of
contempt. [abbr. of KNICKERBOCKER]
n. 1 a useless and usu. worthless ornament; a trinket. 2 a
small, dainty article of furniture, dress, etc.
ЬЬknick-knackery n. knick-knackish adj. [redupl. of knack in
obs. sense 'trinket']
knife n. & v. --n. (pl. knives) 1 a a metal blade used as a cutting
tool with usu. one long sharp edge fixed rigidly in a handle or
hinged (cf. PENKNIFE). b a similar tool used as a weapon. 2 a
cutting-blade forming part of a machine. 3 (as the knife) a
surgical operation or operations. --v.tr. 1 cut or stab with a
knife. 2 sl. bring about the defeat of (a person) by underhand
means. Ьat knife-point threatened with a knife or an ultimatum
etc. before you can say knife colloq. very quickly or
suddenly. get one's knife into treat maliciously or
vindictively, persecute. knife-board a board on which knives
are cleaned. knife-edge 1 the edge of a knife. 2 a position of
extreme danger or uncertainty. 3 a steel wedge on which a
pendulum etc. oscillates. 4 = AR°TE. knife-grinder 1 a
travelling sharpener of knives etc. 2 a person who grinds
knives etc. during their manufacture. knife-machine a machine
for cleaning knives. knife-pleat a narrow flat pleat on a skirt
etc., usu. overlapping another. knife-rest a metal or glass
support for a carving-knife or -fork at table. knife-throwing a
circus etc. act in which knives are thrown at targets. that one
could cut with a knife colloq. (of an accent, atmosphere, etc.)
very obvious, oppressive, etc. ЬЬknifelike adj. knifer n. [OE
cnif f. ON knЎfr f. Gmc]
knight n. & v. --n. 1 a man awarded a non-hereditary title (Sir) by a
sovereign in recognition of merit or service. 2 hist. a a man,
usu. noble, raised esp. by a sovereign to honourable military
rank after service as a page and squire. b a military follower
or attendant, esp. of a lady as her champion in a war or
tournament. 3 a man devoted to the service of a woman, cause,
etc. 4 Chess a piece usu. shaped like a horse's head. 5 a
Rom.Hist. a member of the class of equites, orig. the cavalry of
the Roman army. b Gk Hist. a citizen of the second class in
Athens. 6 (in full knight of the shire) hist. a gentleman
representing a shire or county in parliament. --v.tr. confer a
knighthood on. Ьknight bachelor (pl. knights bachelor) a
knight not belonging to a special order. knight commander see
COMMANDER. knight errant 1 a medieval knight wandering in
search of chivalrous adventures. 2 a man of a chivalrous or
quixotic nature. knight-errantry the practice or conduct of a
knight errant. Knight Hospitaller (pl. Knights Hospitaller) a
member of an order of monks with a military history, founded at
Jerusalem c.1050. knight marshal hist. an officer of the royal
household with judicial functions. knight of the road colloq.
1 a highwayman. 2 a commercial traveller. 3 a tramp. 4 a
lorry driver or taxi driver. knight-service hist. the tenure
of land by military service. Knight Templar (pl. Knights
Templar) a member of a religious and military order for the
protection of pilgrims to the Holy Land, suppressed in 1312.
ЬЬknighthood n. knightlike adj. knightly adj. & adv. poet.
knightliness n. [OE cniht boy, youth, hero f. WG]
knightage n. 1 knights collectively. 2 a list and account of knights.
knish n. a dumpling of flaky dough filled with cheese etc. and baked
or fried. [Yiddish f. Russ.]
knit v. & n. --v. (knitting; past and past part. knitted or (esp.
in senses 2-4) knit) 1 tr. (also absol.) a make (a garment,
blanket, etc.) by interlocking loops of esp. wool with
knitting-needles. b make (a garment etc.) with a knitting
machine. c make (a plain stitch) in knitting (knit one, purl
one). 2 a tr. contract (the forehead) in vertical wrinkles. b
intr. (of the forehead) contract; frown. 3 tr. & intr. (often
foll. by together) make or become close or compact esp. by
common interests etc. (a close-knit group). 4 intr. (often
foll. by together) (of parts of a broken bone) become joined;
heal. --n. knitted material or a knitted garment. Ьknit up 1
make or repair by knitting. 2 conclude, finish, or end.
ЬЬknitter n. [OE cnyttan f. WG: cf. KNOT(1)]
knitting n. 1 a garment etc. in the process of being knitted. 2 a the
act of knitting. b an instance of this. Ьknitting-machine a
machine used for mechanically knitting garments etc.
knitting-needle a thin pointed rod of steel, wood, plastic,
etc., used esp. in pairs for knitting.
knitwear n. knitted garments.
knives pl. of KNIFE.
knob n. & v. --n. 1 a a rounded protuberance, esp. at the end or on
the surface of a thing. b a handle of a door, drawer, etc.,
shaped like a knob. c a knob-shaped attachment for pulling,
turning, etc. (press the knob under the desk). 2 a small, usu.
round, piece (of butter, coal, sugar, etc.). --v. (knobbed,
knobbing) 1 tr. provide with knobs. 2 intr. (usu. foll. by out)
bulge. Ьwith knobs on Brit. sl. that and more (used as a
retort to an insult, in emphatic agreement, etc.) (and the same
to you with knobs on). ЬЬknobby adj. knoblike adj. [ME f. MLG
knobbe knot, knob, bud: cf. KNOP, NOB(2), NUB]
knobble n. a small knob. ЬЬknobbly adj. [ME, dimin. of KNOB: cf. Du.
& LG knobbel]
n. a short stick with a knobbed head used as a weapon esp. by
S. African tribes. [after Afrik. knopkierie]
knobstick n. 1 = KNOBKERRIE. 2 archaic = BLACKLEG.
knock v. & n. --v. 1 a tr. strike (a hard surface) with an audible
sharp blow (knocked the table three times). b intr. strike,
esp. a door to gain admittance (can you hear someone knocking?;
knocked at the door). 2 tr. make (a hole, a dent, etc.) by
knocking (knock a hole in the fence). 3 tr. (usu. foll. by in,
out, off, etc.) drive (a thing, a person, etc.) by striking
(knocked the ball into the hole; knocked those ideas out of his
head; knocked her hand away). 4 tr. sl. criticize. 5 intr. a
(of a motor or other engine) make a thumping or rattling noise
esp. as the result of a loose bearing. b = PINK(3). 6 tr.
Brit. sl. make a strong impression on, astonish. 7 tr. Brit.
coarse sl. offens. = knock off 7. --n. 1 an act of knocking.
2 a sharp rap, esp. at a door. 3 an audible sharp blow. 4 the
sound of knocking in esp. a motor engine. 5 Cricket colloq. an
innings. Ьknock about (or around) 1 strike repeatedly; treat
roughly (knocked her about). 2 lead a wandering adventurous
life; wander aimlessly. 3 be present without design or volition
(there's a cup knocking about somewhere). 4 (usu. foll. by
with) be associated socially (knocks about with his brother).
knock against 1 collide with. 2 come across casually. knock
back 1 Brit. sl. eat or drink, esp. quickly. 2 Brit. sl.
disconcert. 3 Austral. & NZ colloq. refuse, rebuff. knock-back
n. Austral. & NZ colloq. a refusal, a rebuff. knock the
bottom out of see BOTTOM. knock down 1 strike (esp. a person)
to the ground with a blow. 2 demolish. 3 (usu. foll. by to)
(at an auction) dispose of (an article) to a bidder by a knock
with a hammer (knocked the Picasso down to him for a million).
4 colloq. lower the price of (an article). 5 take (machinery,
furniture, etc.) to pieces for transportation. 6 US sl. steal.
7 Austral. & NZ sl. spend (a pay cheque etc.) freely.
knock-down attrib.adj. 1 (of a blow, misfortune, argument,
etc.) overwhelming. 2 Brit. (of a price) very low. 3 (of a
price at auction) reserve. 4 (of furniture etc.) easily
dismantled and reassembled. --n. Austral. & NZ sl. an
introduction (to a person). knock for knock agreement an
agreement between insurance companies by which each pays its own
policyholder regardless of liability. knock one's head against
come into collision with (unfavourable facts or conditions).
knocking-shop Brit. sl. a brothel. knock into a cocked hat
see COCK(1). knock into the middle of next week colloq. send
(a person) flying, esp. with a blow. knock into shape see
SHAPE. knock-kneed having knock knees. knock knees an abnormal
condition with the legs curved inwards at the knee. knock off 1
strike off with a blow. 2 colloq. a finish work (knocked off
at 5.30). b finish (work) (knocked off work early). 3 colloq.
dispatch (business). 4 colloq. rapidly produce (a work of art,
verses, etc.). 5 (often foll. by from) deduct (a sum) from a
price, bill, etc. 6 sl. steal. 7 Brit. coarse sl. offens.
have sexual intercourse with (a woman). 8 sl. kill. knock on
Rugby Football drive (a ball) with the hand or arm towards the
opponents' goal-line. knock-on n. an act of knocking on.
knock-on effect a secondary, indirect, or cumulative effect.
knock on the head 1 stun or kill (a person) by a blow on the
head. 2 colloq. put an end to (a scheme etc.). knock on (or
knock) wood US = touch wood. knock out 1 make (a person)
unconscious by a blow on the head. 2 knock down (a boxer) for a
count of 10, thereby winning the contest. 3 defeat, esp. in a
knockout competition. 4 sl. astonish. 5 (refl.) colloq.
exhaust (knocked themselves out swimming). 6 colloq. make or
write (a plan etc.) hastily. 7 empty (a tobacco-pipe) by
tapping. 8 Austral., NZ, & US sl. earn. knock sideways colloq.
disconcert; astonish. knock spots off defeat easily. knock
together put together or assemble hastily or roughly. knock
under submit. knock up 1 make or arrange hastily. 2 drive
upwards with a blow. 3 a become exhausted or ill. b exhaust or
make ill. 4 Brit. arouse (a person) by a knock at the door. 5
Cricket score (runs) rapidly. 6 esp. US sl. make pregnant. 7
practise a ball game before formal play begins. knock-up n. a
practice at tennis etc. take a (or the) knock be hard hit
financially or emotionally. [ME f. OE cnocian: prob. imit.]
adj. & n. --attrib.adj. 1 (of comedy) boisterous; slapstick.
2 (of clothes) suitable for rough use. 3 Austral. of a farm or
station handyman. --n. 1 Austral. a farm or station handyman.
2 a knockabout performer or performance.
knocker n. 1 a metal or wooden instrument hinged to a door for knocking
to call attention. 2 a person or thing that knocks. 3 (in pl.)
coarse sl. a woman's breasts. 4 a person who buys or sells door
to door. Ьknocker-up Brit. hist. a person employed to rouse
early workers by knocking at their doors or windows. on the
knocker 1 a (buying or selling) from door to door. b (obtained)
on credit. 2 Austral. & NZ colloq. promptly. up to the knocker
Brit. sl. in good condition; to perfection.
knockout n. 1 the act of making unconscious by a blow. 2 Boxing etc. a
blow that knocks an opponent out. 3 a competition in which the
loser in each round is eliminated (also attrib.: a knockout
round). 4 colloq. an outstanding or irresistible person or
thing. Ьknockout drops a drug added to a drink to cause
knoll(1) n. a small hill or mound. [OE cnoll hilltop, rel. to MDu., MHG
knolle clod, ON knollr hilltop]
knoll(2) v. & n. archaic --v. 1 tr. & intr. = KNELL. 2 tr. summon by
the sound of a bell. --n. = KNELL. [ME, var. of KNELL: perh.
knop n. 1 a knob, esp. ornamental. 2 an ornamental loop or tuft in
yarn. 3 archaic a flower-bud. [ME f. MLG, MDu. knoppe]
n. S.Afr. = KNOBKERRIE. [Afrik.]
knot(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a an intertwining of a rope, string, tress of
hair, etc., with another, itself, or something else to join or
fasten together. b a set method of tying a knot (a reef knot).
c a ribbon etc. tied as an ornament and worn on a dress etc. d
a tangle in hair, knitting, etc. 2 a a unit of a ship's or
aircraft's speed equivalent to one nautical mile per hour (see
nautical mile). b a division marked by knots on a log-line, as
a measure of speed. c colloq. a nautical mile. 3 (usu. foll.
by of) a group or cluster (a small knot of journalists at the
gate). 4 something forming or maintaining a union; a bond or
tie, esp. of wedlock. 5 a hard lump of tissue in an animal or
human body. 6 a a knob or protuberance in a stem, branch, or
root. b a hard mass formed in a tree trunk at the intersection
with a branch. c a round cross-grained piece in timber where a
branch has been cut through. d a node on the stem of a plant.
7 a difficulty; a problem. 8 a central point in a problem or
the plot of a story etc. 9 (in full porter's knot) Brit. hist.
a double shoulder-pad and forehead-loop used for carrying loads.
--v. (knotted, knotting) 1 tr. tie (a string etc.) in a knot.
2 tr. entangle. 3 tr. knit (the brows). 4 tr. unite closely or
intricately (knotted together in intrigue). 5 a intr. make
knots for fringing. b tr. make (a fringe) with knots. Ьat a
rate of knots colloq. very fast. get knotted! sl. an
expression of disbelief, annoyance, etc. knot-garden an
intricately designed formal garden. knot-hole a hole in a piece
of timber where a knot has fallen out (sense 6). tie in knots
colloq. baffle or confuse completely. ЬЬknotless adj. knotter
n. knotting n. (esp. in sense 5 of v.). [OE cnotta f. WG]
knot(2) n. a small sandpiper, Calidris canutus. [ME: orig. unkn.]
knotgrass n. 1 a common weed, Polygonum aviculare, with creeping stems
and small pink flowers. 2 = POLYGONUM. Also called KNOTWEED.
knotty adj. (knottier, knottiest) 1 full of knots. 2 hard to explain;
puzzling (a knotty problem). ЬЬknottily adv. knottiness n.
knotweed n. = POLYGONUM.
knotwork n. ornamental work representing or consisting of intertwined
knout n. & v. --n. hist. a scourge used in imperial Russia, often
causing death. --v.tr. flog with a knout. [F f. Russ. knut f.
Icel. knЈtr, rel. to KNOT(1)]
know v. & n. --v. (past knew; past part. known) 1 tr. (often foll.
by that, how, what, etc.) a have in the mind; have learnt; be
able to recall (knows a lot about cars; knows what to do). b
(also absol.) be aware of (a fact) (he knows I am waiting; I
think he knows). c have a good command of (a subject or
language) (knew German; knows his tables). 2 tr. be acquainted
or friendly with (a person or thing). 3 tr. a recognize;
identify (I knew him at once; knew him for an American). b
(foll. by to + infin.) be aware of (a person or thing) as being
or doing what is specified (knew them to be rogues). c (foll.
by from) be able to distinguish (one from another) (did not know
him from Adam). 4 tr. be subject to (her joy knew no bounds).
5 tr. have personal experience of (fear etc.). 6 tr. (as known
adj.) a publicly acknowledged (a known thief; a known fact). b
Math. (of a quantity etc.) having a value that can be stated. 7
intr. have understanding or knowledge. 8 tr. archaic have
sexual intercourse with. --n. (in phr. in the know) colloq.
well-informed; having special knowledge. Ьall one knows (or
knows how) 1 all one can (did all he knew to stop it). 2 adv.
to the utmost of one's power (tried all she knew). before one
knows where one is with baffling speed. be not to know 1 have
no way of learning (wasn't to know they'd arrive late). 2 be
not to be told (she's not to know about the party). don't I
know it! colloq. an expression of rueful assent. don't you
know colloq. or joc. an expression used for emphasis (such a
bore, don't you know). for all (or aught) I know so far as my
knowledge extends. have been known to be known to have done
(they have been known to not turn up). I knew it! I was sure
that this would happen. I know what I have a new idea,
suggestion, etc. know about have information about. know-all
colloq. a person who seems to know everything. know best be or
claim to be better informed etc. than others. know better than
(foll. by that, or to + infin.) be wise, well-informed, or
well-mannered enough to avoid (specified behaviour etc.). know
by name 1 have heard the name of. 2 be able to give the name
of. know by sight recognize the appearance (only) of. know how
know the way to do something. know-how n. 1 practical
knowledge; technique, expertise. 2 natural skill or invention.
know-it-all = know-all. know-nothing 1 an ignorant person. 2
an agnostic. know of be aware of; have heard of (not that I
know of). know one's own mind be decisive, not vacillate. know
the ropes (or one's stuff) be fully knowledgeable or
experienced. know a thing or two be experienced or shrewd.
know what's what have adequate knowledge of the world, life,
etc. know who's who be aware of who or what each person is.
not if I know it only against my will. not know that ...
colloq. be fairly sure that ... not (I don't know that I want
to go). not know what hit one be suddenly injured, killed,
disconcerted, etc. not want to know refuse to take any notice
of. what do you know (or know about that)? colloq. an
expression of surprise. you know colloq. 1 an expression
implying something generally known or known to the hearer (you
know, the pub on the corner). 2 an expression used as a
gap-filler in conversation. you know something (or what)? I am
going to tell you something. you-know-what (or -who) a thing or
person unspecified but understood. you never know nothing in
the future is certain. ЬЬknowable adj. knower n. [OE
(ge)cnawan, rel. to CAN(1), KEN]
knowing n. & adj. --n. the state of being aware or informed of any
thing. --adj. 1 usu. derog. cunning; sly. 2 showing
knowledge; shrewd. Ьthere is no knowing no one can tell.
knowingly adv. 1 consciously; intentionally (had never knowingly injured
him). 2 in a knowing manner (smiled knowingly).
knowledge n. 1 a (usu. foll. by of) awareness or familiarity gained by
experience (of a person, fact, or thing) (have no knowledge of
that). b a person's range of information (is not within his
knowledge). 2 a (usu. foll. by of) a theoretical or practical
understanding of a subject, language, etc. (has a good knowledge
of Greek). b the sum of what is known (every branch of
knowledge). 3 Philos. true, justified belief; certain
understanding, as opp. to opinion. 4 = carnal knowledge. Ьcome
to one's knowledge become known to one. to my knowledge 1 so
far as I know. 2 as I know for certain. [ME knaulege, with
earlier knawlechen (v.) formed as KNOW + OE -l‘can f. lac as in
adj. (also knowledgable) well-informed; intelligent.
ЬЬknowledgeability n. knowledgeableness n. knowledgeably adv.
known past part. of KNOW.
Knt. abbr. Knight.
knuckle n. & v. --n. 1 the bone at a finger-joint, esp. that adjoining
the hand. 2 a a projection of the carpal or tarsal joint of a
quadruped. b a joint of meat consisting of this with the
adjoining parts, esp. of bacon or pork. --v.tr. strike, press,
or rub with the knuckles. Ьgo the knuckle Austral. sl. fight,
punch. knuckle-bone 1 bone forming a knuckle. 2 the bone of a
sheep or other animal corresponding to or resembling a knuckle.
3 a knuckle of meat. knuckle-bones 1 animal knuckle-bones used
in the game of jacks. 2 the game of jacks. knuckle down (often
foll. by to) 1 apply oneself seriously (to a task etc.). 2
(also knuckle under) give in; submit. knuckle sandwich sl. a
punch in the mouth. rap on (or over) the knuckles see RAP(1).
ЬЬknuckly adj. [ME knokel f. MLG, MDu. kn”kel, dimin. of knoke
n. a metal guard worn over the knuckles in fighting, esp. to
increase the effect of the blows.
knur n. (also knurr) 1 a hard excrescence on the trunk of a tree. 2
a hard concretion. [ME knorre, var. of KNAR]
knurl n. a small projecting knob, ridge, etc. ЬЬknurled adj. [KNUR]
koa n. 1 a Hawaiian tree, Acacia koa, which produces dark red wood.
2 this wood. [Hawaiian]
koala n. (in full koala bear) an Australian bearlike marsupial,
Phascolarctos cinereus, having thick grey fur and feeding on
eucalyptus leaves. [Aboriginal kul(l)a]
koan n. a riddle used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy
of logical reasoning. [Jap., = public matter (for thought)]
kobold n. (in Germanic mythology): 1 a familiar spirit; a brownie. 2
an underground spirit in mines etc. [G]
n. Mus. a number given to each of Mozart's compositions in the
complete catalogue of his works compiled by K”chel and his
successors. [L. von K”chel, Austrian scientist d. 1877]
KO'd adj. knocked out. [abbr.]
Kodiak n. (in full Kodiak bear) a large Alaskan brown bear, Ursus
arctos middendorffi. [Kodiak Island, Alaska]
koel n. a dark-coloured cuckoo, Eudynamys scolopacea. [Hindi kўil
f. Skr. kokila]
kohl n. a black powder, usu. antimony sulphide or lead sulphide,
used as eye make-up esp. in Eastern countries. [Arab. kuhl]
kohlrabi n. (pl. kohlrabies) a variety of cabbage with an edible
turnip-like swollen stem. [G f. It. cavoli rape (pl.) f. med.L
caulorapa (as COLE, RAPE(2))]
koine n. 1 the common language of the Greeks from the close of the
classical period to the Byzantine era. 2 a common language
shared by various peoples; a lingua franca. [Gk koine
(dialektos) common (language)]
kola var. of COLA.
kolinsky n. (pl. -ies) 1 the Siberian mink, Mustela sibirica, having a
brown coat in winter. 2 the fur of this. [Russ. kolinskii f.
Kola in NW Russia]
kolkhoz n. a collective farm in the USSR. [Russ. f. kollektivnoe
khozyaistvo collective farm]
komitadji (also komitaji) var. of COMITADJI.
n. (also komodo lizard) a large monitor lizard, Varanus
komodoensis, native to the E. Indies. [Komodo Island in
Komsomol n. 1 an organization for Communist youth in the Soviet Union.
2 a member of this. [Russ. f. Kommunisticheskii soyuz
molodezhi Communist League of Youth]
koodoo var. of KUDU.
kook n. & adj. US sl. --n. a crazy or eccentric person. --adj.
crazy; eccentric. [20th c.: prob. f. CUCKOO]
n. any Australian kingfisher of the genus Dacelo, esp. D.
novaeguineae, which makes a strange laughing cry. Also called
laughing jackass. [Aboriginal]
kooky adj. (kookier, kookiest) sl. crazy. ЬЬkookily adv. kookiness
kop n. 1 S.Afr. a prominent hill or peak. 2 (Kop) Football a high
bank of terracing for standing spectators, esp. supporting the
home side. [Afrik. f. Du., = head: cf. COP(2)]
kopek (also kopeck) var. of COPECK.
kopi n. Austral. powdered gypsum. [Aboriginal]
koppie n. (also kopje) S.Afr. a small hill. [Afrik. koppie, Du.
kopje, dimin. of kop head]
koradji n. (pl. koradjis) Austral. an Aboriginal medicine man.
Koran n. (also Qur'an) the Islamic sacred book, believed to be the
word of God as dictated to Muhammad and written down in Arabic.
ЬЬKoranic adj. [Arab. kur' an recitation f. kara' a read]
Korean n. & adj. --n. 1 a native or national of N. or S. Korea in SE
Asia. 2 the language of Korea. --adj. of or relating to Korea
or its people or language.
korfball n. a game like basketball played by two teams consisting of 6
men and 6 women each. [Du. korfbal f. korf basket + bal ball]
kosher adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of food or premises in which food is sold,
cooked, or eaten) fulfilling the requirements of Jewish law. 2
colloq. correct; genuine; legitimate. --n. 1 kosher food. 2 a
kosher shop. [Heb. kaser proper]
koto n. (pl. -os) a Japanese musical instrument with 13 long esp.
silk strings. [Jap.]
kotow var. of KOWTOW.
koumiss n. (also kumiss, kumis) a fermented liquor prepared from esp.
mare's milk, used by Asian nomads and medicinally. [Tartar
kourbash n. (also kurbash) a whip, esp. of hippopotamus hide, used as an
instrument of punishment in Turkey and Egypt. [Arab. kurbaj f.
Turk. kirba‡ whip]
kowhai n. any of several trees or shrubs of the genus Sophora, esp.
S. microphylla native to New Zealand, with pendant clusters of
yellow flowers. [Maori]
kowtow n. & v. (also kotow) hist. --n. the Chinese custom of kneeling
and touching the ground with the forehead in worship or
submission. --v.intr. 1 perform the kowtow. 2 (usu. foll. by
to) act obsequiously. [Chin. ketou f. ke knock + tou head]
kraal n. S.Afr. 1 a village of huts enclosed by a fence. 2 an
enclosure for cattle or sheep. [Afrik. f. Port. curral, of
kraft n. (in full kraft paper) a kind of strong smooth brown wrapping
paper. [G f. Sw., = strength]
krait n. any venomous snake of the genus Bungarus of E. Asia. [Hindi
kraken n. a large mythical sea-monster said to appear off the coast of
krans n. S.Afr. a precipitous or overhanging wall of rocks. [Afrik.
f. Du. krans coronet]
Kraut n. sl. offens. a German. [shortening of SAUERKRAUT]
kremlin n. 1 a citadel within a Russian town. 2 (the Kremlin) a the
citadel in Moscow. b the USSR Government housed within it. [F,
f. Russ. Kreml', of Tartar orig.]
n. 1 a war-game in which blocks representing armies etc. are
moved about on maps. 2 a form of chess with an umpire, in which
each player has only limited information about the opponent's
moves. [G f. Krieg war + Spiel game]
krill n. tiny planktonic crustaceans found in the seas around the
Antarctic and eaten by baleen whales. [Norw. kril tiny fish]
krimmer n. a grey or black fur obtained from the wool of young Crimean
lambs. [G f. Krim Crimea]
kris n. (also crease, creese) a Malay or Indonesian dagger with a
wavy blade. [ult. f. Malay k(i)ris]
n. Hinduism the worship of Krishna as an incarnation of Vishnu.
kromesky n. (pl. -ies) a croquette of minced meat or fish, rolled in
bacon and fried. [app. f. Pol. kromeczka small slice]
krona n. 1 (pl. kronor) the chief monetary unit of Sweden. 2 (pl.
kronur) the chief monetary unit of Iceland. [Sw. & Icel., =
krone n. (pl. kroner) the chief monetary unit of Denmark and of
Norway. [Da. & Norw., = CROWN]
Kroo var. of KRU.
Kru n. & adj. (also Kroo) --n. (pl. same) a member of a Black
seafaring people on the coast of Liberia. --adj. of or
concerning the Kru. [W. Afr.]
n. a S. African gold coin depicting President Kruger. [S. J.
P. Kruger, S. Afr. statesman d. 1904, + RAND(1)]
krummhorn n. (also crumhorn) a medieval wind instrument with a double
reed and a curved end. [G f. krumm crooked + Horn HORN]
krypton n. Chem. an inert gaseous element of the noble gas group,
forming a small portion of the earth's atmosphere and used in
fluorescent lamps etc. °Symb.: Kr. [Gk krupton hidden, neut.
adj. f. krupto hide]
kudu n. (also koodoo) either of two African antelopes, Tragelaphus
strepsiceros or T. imberbis, with white stripes and
corkscrew-shaped ridged horns. [Xhosa-Kaffir iqudu]
kudzu n. (in full kudzu vine) a quick-growing climbing plant, Pueraria
thunbergiana, with reddish-purple flowers. [Jap. kuzu]
Kufic n. & adj. (also Cufic) --n. an early angular form of the Arabic
alphabet found chiefly in decorative inscriptions. --adj. of or
in this type of script. [Cufa, a city S. of Baghdad in Iraq]
Ku Klux Klan
n. a secret society of White people in the southern States of
the US, orig. formed after the Civil War and dedicated to
persecuting and terrorizing Blacks. ЬЬKu Klux Klansman n. (pl.
-men). [perh. f. Gk kuklos circle + CLAN]
kukri n. (pl. kukris) a curved knife broadening towards the point,
used by Gurkhas. [Hindi kukri]
kulak n. hist. a peasant working for personal profit in Soviet
Russia. [Russ., = fist, tight-fisted person]
kulan n. a wild ass of SW Asia, closely related to the kiang.
kultur n. esp. derog. German civilization and culture, seen as
racist, authoritarian, and militaristic. [G f. L cultura
n. hist. the conflict in 19th-c. Germany between the civil and
ecclesiastical authorities esp. as regards the control of
schools. [G (as KULTUR, Kampf struggle)]
kumara n. NZ a sweet potato. [Maori]
kumis (also kumiss) var. of KOUMISS.
kЃmmel n. a sweet liqueur flavoured with caraway and cumin seeds. [G
kumquat n. (also cumquat) 1 an orange-like fruit with a sweet rind and
acid pulp, used in preserves. 2 any shrub or small tree of the
genus Fortunella yielding this. [Cantonese var. of Chin. kin
kЃ golden orange]
kung fu n. the Chinese form of karate. [Chin. gongfu f. gong merit +
kurbash var. of KOURBASH.
n. Chem. = RUTHERFORDIUM. °Symb.: Ku. [I. V. Kurchatov,
Russ. physicist d. 1960]
Kurd n. a member of a mainly pastoral Aryan Islamic people living in
Kurdistan (contiguous areas of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey).
n. Austral. 1 the tribal use of a bone in spells intended to
cause sickness or death. 2 a man empowered to point the bone at
a victim. [Aboriginal]
Kurdish adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the Kurds or their language.
--n. the Iranian language of the Kurds.
kurrajong n. (also currajong) an Australian tree, Brachychiton populneum,
which produces a tough bast fibre. [Aboriginal]
kursaal n. 1 a building for the use of visitors at a health resort,
esp. at a German spa. 2 a casino. [G f. Kur CURE + Saal
kurta n. (also kurtha) a loose shirt or tunic worn by esp. Hindu men
and women. [Hind.]
kurtosis n. Statistics the sharpness of the peak of a
frequency-distribution curve. [mod.L f. Gk kurtosis bulging f.
kyanite n. a blue crystalline mineral of aluminium silicate.
ЬЬkyanitic adj. [Gk kuanos dark blue]
kyanize v.tr. (also -ise) treat (wood) with a solution of corrosive
sublimate to prevent decay. [J. H. Kyan, Engl. inventor d.
kybosh var. of KIBOSH.
kyle n. (in Scotland) a narrow channel between islands or between an
island and the mainland. [Gael. caol strait]
kylie n. W. Austral. a boomerang. [Aboriginal]
kylin n. a mythical composite animal figured on Chinese and Japanese
ceramics. [Chin. qilin f. qi male + lin female]
kyloe n. Brit. 1 an animal of a breed of small usu. black
long-horned highland cattle. 2 this breed. [Kyloe in
kymograph n. an instrument for recording variations in pressure, e.g. in
sound waves or in blood within blood-vessels. ЬЬkymographic
adj. [Gk kuma wave + -GRAPH]
kyphosis n. Med. excessive outward curvature of the spine, causing
hunching of the back (opp. LORDOSIS). ЬЬkyphotic adj. [mod.L
f. Gk kuphosis f. kuphos bent]
Kyrie (in full Kyrie eleison) n. 1 a a short repeated invocation used
in the RC and Greek Orthodox Churches, esp. at the beginning of
the Mass. b a response sometimes used in the Anglican Communion
Service. 2 a musical setting of the Kyrie. [ME f. med.L f. Gk
Kurie eleeson Lord, have mercy]
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