Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A cask.
  • noun An obsolete English measure of capacity equal to 18 imperial gallons (81.8 liters).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A measure of capacity, half a barrel or 2 firkins.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A small barrel; an old liquid measure containing eighteen English beer gallons, or nearly twenty-two gallons, United States measure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A small barrel.
  • noun An old English liquid measure, usually being half a barrel; containing 18 English beer gallons, or nearly twenty-two gallons, United States measure.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an obsolete British unit of capacity equal to 18 Imperial gallons

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, alteration of Middle Flemish kinderkin, variant of Middle Dutch kindekijn : quintel, quintlein, quintal (from Medieval Latin quintāle; see quintal) + -kijn, diminutive suff.]

Examples

  • Or his comic masterpiece, Mac Flecknoe, satirising an obscure Restoration rival: "A tun of man, in thy large bulk is writ,/but sure thou'rt but a kilderkin of wit" (kilderkin: an old English unit of volume equal to two firkins).

    Only a sadist would inflict Dryden on our schoolchildren

  • Southcombe, marching slowly with his long limp burdens, found ready on the sand the little barrel, about as big as a kilderkin, of true and unsullied Stockholm pitch, which he had taken, as his brother took Madeira, for ripeness and for betterance, by right of change of climate.

    Springhaven

  • But the figure of the woman was still more awkward: an unwieldy bulk, two extended arms which seemed to bear it up with difficulty, and looked like two carved handles from the neck to the widest part of a large kilderkin, and beneath this enormous body, two legs, naked up to the knees, which could scarcely totter along.

    Chapter XI

  • Devil a drop have you left in the great kilderkin.

    The White Company

  • Devil a drop have you left in the great kilderkin.

    The White Company

  • Devil a drop have you left in the great kilderkin.

    The White Company

  • Two firkins, or bushels, make a measure called a rundlet or kilderkin, liquid, and a strike, dry.

    Reports and Opinions While Secretary of State

  • Devil a drop have you left in the great kilderkin.

    The White Company

  • Because of this fact alone I should not commend the diversion of moving save to people of very ample means as well as perfect leisure; there are more reasons than the misery of flitting why the dweller in the kilderkin should not covet the hogshead reeking of claret.

    Suburban Sketches

  • There is no house to which one would return, having left it, though it were the hogshead out of which one had moved into a kilderkin; for those associations whose perishing leaves us free, and preserves to us what little youth we have, were otherwise perpetuated to our burden and bondage.

    Suburban Sketches

Comments

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  • Variously, 81.83 litres, 2 firkins, or 18 gallons, liquid measure. "Kilderin" is ghosted - but it might make a great band name or the title of a tune (not tun).

    September 24, 2009