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[kin] /kɪn/
a person's relatives collectively; kinfolk.
family relationship or kinship.
a group of persons descended from a common ancestor or constituting a people, clan, tribe, or family.
a relative or kinsman.
someone or something of the same or similar kind:
philosophy and its kin, theology.
of the same family; related; akin.
of the same kind or nature; having affinity.
of kin, of the same family; related; akin:
Although their surnames are identical they are not of kin.
Origin of kin
before 900; Middle English; Old English cyn; cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German kunni, Old Norse kyn, Gothic kuni; akin to Latin genus, Greek génos, Sanskrit jánas. See gender
Related forms
kinless, adjective
Can be confused
ken, kin, kith.


a diminutive suffix of nouns:
Middle English < Middle Dutch, Middle Low German -ken; cognate with German -chen Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for kin
  • Fascinating that qualities of its blood let it soar higher than many of its kin.
  • In the first part, she offers advice to adults troubled by relations with parents, siblings and other kin.
  • Acknowledging relatives in this way is an example of kin recognition.
  • The pioneer primatologist travels the globe to speak up for the captive and orphaned kin of wild chimpanzees.
  • Cleopatra and her kin knew a thing or two about crafting an alluring smoky eye.
  • Names are released only after the next of kin has been notified.
  • Living alone with only a few much valued friends and kin to bother me is heaven.
  • While trouble crops up continually for Lucy and her kin, they sail through nearly unscathed.
  • He asked them to study the disease that plagued his kin.
  • Joey runs away to find his only true kin, his black-sheep older cousin Beau, a drunken drifter.
British Dictionary definitions for kin


a person's relatives collectively; kindred
a class or group with similar characteristics
(postpositive) related by blood
a less common word for akin
Word Origin
Old English cyn; related to Old Norse kyn family, Old High German kind child, Latin genus kind


small: lambkin
Word Origin
from Middle Dutch, of West Germanic origin; compare German -chen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kin

c.1200, from Old English cynn "family; race; kind, sort, rank; nature; gender, sex," from Proto-Germanic *kunjam "family" (cf. Old Frisian kenn, Old Saxon kunni, Old Norse kyn, Old High German chunni "kin, race;" Danish and Swedish kön, Middle Dutch, Dutch kunne "sex, gender;" Gothic kuni "family, race," Old Norse kundr "son," German Kind "child"), from PIE *gen(e)- "to produce" (see genus).


diminutive suffix, first attested late 12c. in proper names adopted from Flanders and Holland, probably from Middle Dutch -kin, properly a double-diminutive, from -k + -in. Equivalent to German -chen. Also borrowed in Old French as -quin, where it usually has a bad sense.

This suffix, which is almost barren in French, has been more largely developed in the Picard patois, which uses it for new forms, such as verquin, a shabby little glass (verre); painequin, a bad little loaf (pain); Pierrequin poor little Pierre, &c. ["An Etymological Dictionary of the French Language," transl. G.W. Kitchin, Oxford, 1878]
Used in later Middle English with common nouns. In some words it is directly from Dutch or Flemish.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for kin


Related Terms

kissing cousin

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with kin


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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