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

  • noun A light framework covered with cloth, plastic, or paper, designed to be flown in the wind at the end of a long string or multiple lines, especially for recreation.
  • noun A parafoil flown in a similar manner for recreation.
  • noun A power kite.
  • noun A quadrilateral with two distinct pairs of congruent, adjacent sides.
  • noun Any of the light sails of a ship that are used only in a light wind.
  • noun Any of various graceful predatory birds of the family Accipitridae, having long pointed wings and often a forked tail.
  • noun An instance of check kiting.
  • intransitive verb To fly like a kite; soar or glide.
  • intransitive verb To get money or credit with a kite.
  • intransitive verb To use (a check) in furtherance of a check kiting scheme.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • A dialectal variant of kit for cut.
  • noun A variety of tumbler, black, with the inner webs of the primaries red or yellow.
  • noun Something thrown out as a suggestion to see ‘how the wind blows’—what the condition of public opinion is on a certain subject, or what conclusions may inferentially be drawn.
  • noun In geometry, a deltoid: so called by Sylvester from its resemblance to a spear-kite.
  • noun The belly.
  • To fly a bird-shaped kite over a grouse moor: an English sporting-term. The birds, taking this for a hawk, lie close, until the dogs are near.
  • To go or fly with great rapidity or with the ease of a kite: as, to go kiting about.
  • To fly commercial “kites”; raise money or gain the temporary use of money by means of accommodation bills, or by borrowed, illegally certified, or worthless checks.
  • noun A diurnal bird of prey of the family Falconidæ and subfamily Milvinæ; a glede.
  • noun A sharper.
  • noun [Prob. so called from its hovering in the air, like the bird so named.] A light frame, usually of wood and covered with paper, constructed for flying in the air by means of a long cord attached.
  • noun Nautical, one of the highest and lightest sails; one of the small sails that are usually spread in light winds, and furled in a strong breeze.
  • noun The brill. [Local, Eng.]

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

  • intransitive verb Cant To raise money by “kites;” .
  • noun Prov. Eng. & Scot. The belly.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Any raptorial bird of the subfamily Milvinæ, of which many species are known. They have long wings, adapted for soaring, and usually a forked tail.
  • noun Fig.: One who is rapacious.
  • noun A light frame of wood or other material covered with paper or cloth, for flying in the air at the end of a string.
  • noun (Naut.) A lofty sail, carried only when the wind is light.
  • noun (Geom.) A quadrilateral, one of whose diagonals is an axis of symmetry.
  • noun Cant Fictitious commercial paper used for raising money or to sustain credit, as a check which represents no deposit in bank, or a bill of exchange not sanctioned by sale of goods; an accommodation check or bill.
  • noun (Zoöl.), Prov. Eng. The brill.
  • noun (Naut.) A form of drag to be towed under water at any depth up to about forty fathoms, which on striking bottom is upset and rises to the surface; -- called also sentry.
  • noun (Naut.) See under Flying.
  • noun (Zoöl.) an African falcon of the genus Avicida, having some resemblance to a kite.

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

  • noun Northern England, Scotland The stomach; belly.
  • noun Any of falconiform birds of prey in the subfamily Elaninae of the family Accipitridae with long wings and weak legs, feeding mostly on carrion and spending long periods soaring.
  • noun A lightweight toy or other device carried on the wind and tethered and controlled from the ground by one or more lines.
  • noun A tethered object which deflects its position in a medium by obtaining lift and drag in reaction with its relative motion in the medium.
  • noun geometry A quadrilateral having two pairs of edges of equal length, the edges of each pair being consecutive.
  • noun banking A fraudulent draft, such as a check one drawn on insufficient funds or with altered face value.
  • noun astrology A planetary configuration wherein one planet of a grand trine is in opposition to an additional fourth planet.
  • noun slang An aircraft, or aeroplane.
  • noun sailing, dated A lightweight sail set above the topgallants, such as a studding-sail.
  • noun sailing, slang A spinnaker.
  • noun US, slang, prison A short letter.
  • verb rare, usually with "go" To fly a kite.
  • verb To glide in the manner of a kite.


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

[Middle English, bird of prey, from Old English cȳta.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain. Possibly from Middle English *kit, *kid (attested only in compounds: kidney), from Old English cwiþ ("belly, womb"), from Proto-Germanic *kweþuz (“stomach, belly”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷet-, *gut- (“swelling, rounding; stomach, entrails”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷu-, *gū- (“to bend, curve, bow, vault, distend”). Cognate with Icelandic kýta ("stomach of a fish, roe"), West Flemish kijte, kiete ("fleshy part of the body"), Middle Low German kūt ("entrails"), Icelandic kviður ("stomach"), kviði ("womb").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English kite, kete, from Old English cȳta ("kite, bittern"), from Proto-Germanic *kūtijô, diminutive of *kūts (“bird of prey”), from Proto-Indo-European *gū- (“to cry, screech”). Cognate with Scots kyt, kyte ("kite, bird of prey"), Middle High German kiuzelīn, kützlīn ("owling"), German Kauz ("barn owl, screech owl").


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  • The OED gives the bird first, with the toy first cited with a 1664 quotation; 'a blank cheque or a cheque drawn on insufficient funds or forged from a stolen cheque-book' is dated from the late 1920s.

    November 30, 2007

  • And nowhere is there the definition of an amusing flying device made of paper, string, and wood? Sheesh.

    November 30, 2007

  • If you ever find yourself attacked by kites in the wilderness, bear in mind that the antidote is pomegranates.

    November 30, 2007

  • Paper, string and wood (the toy): 'A toy consisting of a light frame, usually of wood, with paper or other light thin material stretched upon it; mostly in the form of an isosceles triangle with a circular arc as base, or a quadrilateral symmetrical about the longer diagonal; constructed (usually with a tail of some kind for the purpose of balancing it) to be flown in a strong wind by means of a long string attached.' (OED)

    November 30, 2007

  • Sionnach, that has to be one of the strangest sentences I've ever read. :-)

    November 30, 2007

  • In sailing, a nickname for a spinnaker.

    February 27, 2008

  • How bright on the blue

    Is a kite when it's new!

    With a dive and a dip

    It snaps its tail

    The soars like a ship

    With only a sail

    As over tides of wind it rides,

    Climbs to the crest of a gust and pulls,

    The seems to rest

    As wind falls.

    - Harry Behn, 'The Kite'.

    November 4, 2008

  • kite is

    British slang

    for aeroplane

    May 16, 2009

  • The Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival is held annually at Higashiomi, Shiga, Japan on the 4th Sunday of May.

    May 5, 2011