8 Words That Are Older Than You Think
bird of prey (Milvus ictinus), Old English cyta "kind of hawk," probably imitative of its cries (cf. ciegan "to call," German Kauz "screech owl"). The toy kite first so-called 1660s, from its way of hovering in the air like a bird. The dismissive invitation to go fly a kite is attested by 1942, American English, probably tracing to the popular song of the same name (lyrics by Johnny Burke), sung by Bing Crosby in "The Star Maker" (1939):
Go fly a kite and tie your troubles to the tail
They'll be blown away by a merry gale,
Go fly a kite and toss your worries to the wind
And they won't come back, they'll be too chagrined.
"write a fictitious check," 1839, American English, from 1805 phrase fly a kite "raise money by issuing commercial paper on nonexistent funds;" see kite (n.). Related: Kited; kiting.
To write a check when one does not have the funds to cover it, hoping to find them before the check is cashed: The bill was due before payday, so I had to kite the check (1934+)Related Terms
[fly a kite in the verb sense is found by 1808]
an unclean and keen-sighted bird of prey (Lev. 11:14; Deut. 14:13). The Hebrew word used, _'ayet_, is rendered "vulture" in Job 28:7 in Authorized Version, "falcon" in Revised Version. It is probably the red kite (Milvus regalis), a bird of piercing sight and of soaring habits found all over Palestine.