Definitions

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

  • adjective Touchy; unpredictable.
  • transitive verb To tickle; arouse.
  • transitive verb To puzzle; perplex.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To tickle: frequently followed by up.
  • Ticklish; difficult; nice; not easily managed; trying; vexatious.
  • To litter; bring forth kittens.
  • noun A dialectal or obsolete form of kettle.
  • To confuse with questions or statements.
  • noun An obsolete or dialectal form of kiddle.

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

  • intransitive verb (Zoöl.), Prov. Eng. & Scot. To bring forth young, as a cat; to kitten; to litter.
  • transitive verb Prov. Eng. & Scot. To tickle.
  • adjective Prov. Eng. & Scot. Ticklish; not easily managed; troublesome; difficult; variable.

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

  • verb intransitive, zoology, Scotland and Northern England To bring forth young, as a cat; to kitten; to litter.
  • verb transitive, Scotland and Northern England To tickle, to touch lightly.
  • adjective Scotland and Northern England Ticklish.
  • adjective Scotland and Northern England Not easily managed; troublesome; difficult; variable.

Etymologies

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

[From Middle English kitillen, to tickle, probably from Old English *citelian or from Old Norse kitla.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English kitelen, from Norwegian kjetla ("to bring forth young"), equivalent to kit +‎ -le.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English kitelen, from Old English citelian ("to tickle"), from Proto-Germanic *kitilōnan, frequentative form of Proto-Germanic *kitōnan (“to tickle”), from Proto-Indo-European *geid- (“to stick, jab, tickle”). Cognate with Dutch kittelen, kietelen ("to tickle"), Low German kettelen, ketelen ("to tickle"), German kitzeln ("to tickle"), Icelandic kitla ("to tickle"), Swedish kittla, kittsla, Danish kildre and perhaps Old Armenian կիծ- (kic-, "to sting, bite"). Compare tickle.

Examples

  • Behind her was a big bundle of extra clothing, and food, and an iron pot -- or, as she called it, a "kittle" -- for cooking their noonday meals.

    Hillsboro People

  • "Th 'kittle's biled ef you is ready," she announced.

    Sweetapple Cove

  • The springs creaked, chirpings arose from various parts of the car as it ran, but he coaxed the engine, performed miracles at bad places in the road, nursed the insufficient radiator surface and kept the "kittle" at a simmer.

    Rimrock Trail

  • We are a "kittle" lot, and hard to please for long.

    Complete Essays

  • We are a "kittle" lot, and hard to please for long.

    As We Go

  • We are a "kittle" lot, and hard to please for long.

    The Complete Project Gutenberg Writings of Charles Dudley Warner

  • 'kittle's jist a-biling, and the cups and sarsers ready laid,' and that, as it was such a wretched night out o 'doors, she'd made up her mind to have a nice, hot, comfortable cup o' tea -- a determination at which, by the most singular coincidence, the other two ladies had simultaneously arrived.

    Sketches by Boz, illustrative of everyday life and every-day people

  • A viewer who complains to the BBC can be sure that their complaint will be treated seriously. it is clear that the singular subject is in fact being used to mean All viewers and so the inherently plural nature of the their makes a kittle more sense.

    5 posts from September 2009

  • It minds me o' when I tellt t' doctor I was bad wi' my chest and he said it was reflective pain from my left leg. Hearts is kittle cattle at best, and jumpy as a kesh.

    From the archive, 26 January 1942: Polite conversation

  • A viewer who complains to the BBC can be sure that their complaint will be treated seriously. it is clear that the singular subject is in fact being used to mean All viewers and so the inherently plural nature of the their makes a kittle more sense.

    They forms with singular reference

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