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    knell (v.) — Kriss Kringle

    knell (v.)

    Old English cnyllan "to toll a bell; strike, knock," cognate with Middle High German erknellen "to resound," Old Norse knylla "to beat, thrash;" probably imitative. Intransitive sense, in reference to a bell, is from late 14c. Related: Knelled; knelling.ETD knell (v.).2


    past tense and past participle of kneel (v.).ETD knelt.2


    Israeli parliament, 1949, from Mishnaic Hebrew keneseth "gathering, assembly," from stem of Hebrew kanas "he gathered, assembled, collected."ETD Knesset.2


    Old English cneow, past tense of know (v.).ETD knew.2

    knickers (n.)

    1866, in reference to loose-fitting pants for men worn buckled or buttoned at the waist and knees, shortening of knickerbockers (1859), said to be so called for their resemblance to the trousers of old-time Dutchmen in Cruikshank's illustrations for Washington Irving's "History of New York" (see Knickerbocker). As "short, loose-fitting undergarment for women," by 1882, now the usual sense.ETD knickers (n.).2


    "descendant of Dutch settlers of New York," 1831, from Diedrich Knickerbocker, the name under which Washington Irving published his popular "History of New York" (1809). The pen-name was borrowed from Irving's friend Herman Knickerbocker, and literally means "toy marble-baker," from German knicker, schoolboy slang for "marble," apparently an agent-noun from the imitative verb knikken "to snap."ETD Knickerbocker.2

    knick-knack (n.)

    also knickknack, nicknack, "a pleasing trifle, toy," 1570s, a reduplication of knack (n.) "ingenious device, toy, trinket" (1530s), a specialized sense of knack (n.) "stratagem, trick."ETD knick-knack (n.).2

    knife (v.)

    1865, "stab or kill with a knife," from knife (n.). Intransitive meaning "move as a knife does" is from 1920. Related: Knifed; knifing.ETD knife (v.).2

    knife (n.)

    "hand-held cutting instrument consisting of a short blade and handle," late Old English cnif, probably from Old Norse knifr "knife, dirk," from Proto-Germanic *knibaz (source also of Middle Low German knif, Middle Dutch cnijf, German kneif), a word of uncertain origin. To further confuse the etymology, there also are forms in -p-, such as Dutch knijp, German kneip. French canif "penknife" (mid-15c.) is probably of Germanic origin, perhaps from Frankish. For pronunciation, see kn-.ETD knife (n.).2

    knight (n.)

    Old English cniht "boy, youth; servant, attendant," a word common to the nearby Germanic languages (Old Frisian kniucht, Dutch knecht, Middle High German kneht "boy, youth, lad," German Knecht "servant, bondman, vassal"), of unknown origin. For pronunciation, see kn-. The plural in Middle English sometimes was knighten.ETD knight (n.).2

    Meaning "military follower of a king or other superior" is from c. 1100. It began to be used in a specific military sense in the Hundred Years War, and gradually rose in importance until it became a rank in the nobility from 16c. Hence in modern British use, a social privilege or honorary dignity conferred by a sovereign as a reward, without regard for birth or deeds at arms. In 17c.-19c. a common jocularism was to call a craftsman or tradesman a knight of the and name some object associated with his work; e.g. knight of the brush for "painter." Knight in shining armor in the figurative sense is from 1917, from the man who rescues the damsel in distress in romantic dramas (perhaps especially "Lohengrin"). For knight-errant, see errant.ETD knight (n.).3

    The horse-headed chess piece so called from mid-15c. Knights of Columbus, society of Catholic men, founded 1882 in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.; Knights of Labor, trade union association, founded in Philadelphia, 1869; Knights of Pythias, secret order, founded in Washington, 1864.ETD knight (n.).4

    knight (v.)

    "to make a knight of (someone), to dub or create a knight," early 13c., from knight (n.). Related: Knighted; knighting.ETD knight (v.).2

    knighthood (n.)

    Old English cnihthad "the period between childhood and manhood;" see knight (n.) + -hood. Sense of "rank or dignity of a knight" is from c. 1300, and probably is an independent formation.ETD knighthood (n.).2

    knightly (adj.)

    Old English cnihtlic "boyish, childish;" see knight (n.) + -ly (1). Meaning "chivalrous, befitting a knight" is from late 14c.ETD knightly (adj.).2

    knish (n.)

    1930, from Yiddish, from Russian knysh, a kind of cake.ETD knish (n.).2

    knit (v.)

    Old English cnyttan "to tie with a knot, bind together, fasten by tying," related to Old Norse knytja "bind together, form into a knot," Middle Low German knütten "to tie, knot," Old English cnotta "a knot," from Proto-Germanic *knuttjan, from stem *knutt-. Of brows, late 14c. Intransitive meaning "do knitting, weave by looping or knotting a continuous thread" (especially in reference to plain stitch) is from 1520s. Intransitive meaning "become compact or consolidated" is from c. 1600. Related: Knitted; knitting. For pronunciation, see kn-.ETD knit (v.).2

    knitting (n.)

    late 14c., "a fastening with a rope or thread;" mid-15c., "a joining or binding together," verbal noun from knit (v.). In Middle English also "unity; a bond, unifying force; interconnection; a relationship," but these are lost. Meaning "act of weaving a continuous thread by loops or knots" is from 1711. Meaning "knitted work, work done by a knitter" is from 1848. Knitting-needle is from 1590s.ETD knitting (n.).2

    knitter (n.)

    mid-15c., "that which ties or knits" in any sense, agent noun from knit (v.). Meaning "one who does knitting work" is from 1510s (c. 1300 as a surname). Occasionally knitster (1640s).ETD knitter (n.).2

    knob (n.)

    late 14c., knobe, probably from a Scandinavian or German source (compare Middle Low German knobbe "knob," Middle Dutch cnoppe, Dutch knop, Old Frisian knopp, knapp, Old High German knopf, German Knopf "button," Old Norse knyfill "short horn"). Meaning "knoll, isolated round hill" is first recorded 1640s, especially in U.S. For pronunciation, see kn-.ETD knob (n.).2

    knobby (adj.)

    1540s, from knob + -y (2). Alternative form knobbly attested from 1859. Related: Knobbiness.ETD knobby (adj.).2

    knock (v.)

    Old English cnocian (West Saxon cnucian), "to pound, beat; knock (on a door)," likely of imitative origin. Figurative meaning "deprecate, put down" is from 1892. Related: Knocked; knocking. Of engines from 1869. To knock back (a drink) "swallow quickly or at a gulp" is from 1931. Many phrases are in reference to the auctioneer's hammer, for example knock down (v.) "dispose of (something) at auction" (1760).ETD knock (v.).2

    knock (n.)

    mid-14c., from knock (v.). As an engine noise, from 1899.ETD knock (n.).2

    knockabout (adj.)

    also knock-about, "suitable for anything," 1876, from verbal phrase knock about (intrans.) "wander here and there" (1833; knock around in the same sense is from 1848); see knock (v.) + around (adv.).ETD knockabout (adj.).2

    knock-down (adj.)

    also knockdown, 1680s, from the verbal phrase knock down, attested from mid-15c. in the sense "fell to the ground;" see knock (v.) + down (adv.). As a noun from 1809. Phrase knock-down, drag-out is from 1827.ETD knock-down (adj.).2

    knocker (n.)

    late 14c., agent noun from knock (v.). Sense of "door banger" is by 1590s. Knockers "a woman's breasts" is slang attested from 1941.ETD knocker (n.).2

    knock-kneed (adj.)

    1774, from knock (v.) + knee (n.).ETD knock-kneed (adj.).2

    knockoff (n.)

    also knock-off, "cheap imitation," 1966, from the verbal phrase knock off "do hastily" (1817), in reference to the casual way the things are made. The verbal phrase knock off is attested from 1640s as "desist, stop" (work, study, etc.), hence knockoff (n.) "act of leaving work" (1899) and, probably, the command knock it off "stop it" (1880), which was perhaps reinforced by the auctioneer's use of the term for "dispose of quickly." To knock (someone) off in the underworld slang sense of "kill, murder" is from 1919. See knock (v.) + off (adv.).ETD knockoff (n.).2

    knockout (n.)

    also knock-out, in fighting, 1887, from verbal phrase knock out "to stun by a blow for a 10-count" in boxing, short for to knock out of time; see knock (v.) + out (adv.). Slang meaning "excellent thing or person" is from 1892; specifically "beautiful woman" by 1953. As an adjective from 1896 in the tournament competition sense, 1898 in fighting. To knock oneself out "make a great effort" is from 1936.ETD knockout (n.).2

    knock up (v.)

    1660s, "arouse by knocking at the door," from knock (v.) + up (adv.). However it is little used in this sense in American English, where the phrase means "get a woman pregnant" (1813, in a New Jersey context), possibly ultimately from knock in a sense "to copulate with" (1590s; compare slang knocking-shop "brothel," 1860). To knock up also meant "to knock unconscious" in early 19c.ETD knock up (v.).2

    Also "to exhaust, overcome or make ill with fatigue" (1737).ETD knock up (v.).3

    knoll (n.)

    Old English cnoll "hilltop, small hill, clod, ball," related to Old Norse knollr "hilltop;" German knolle "clod, lump;" Dutch knol "turnip," nol "a hill."ETD knoll (n.).2

    knot (v.)

    "to tie in a knot," mid-15c., from knot (n.). Intransitive sense "form into knots" is from 1610s. Related: Knotted (late 12c.), knotting.ETD knot (v.).2

    knot (n.)

    Old English cnotta "intertwining of ropes, cords, etc.," from Proto-Germanic *knuttan- (source also of Low German knütte, Old Frisian knotta "knot," Dutch knot, Old High German knoto, German Knoten, perhaps also Old Norse knutr "knot, knob"). For pronunciation, see kn-.ETD knot (n.).2

    Figurative sense of "difficult problem, a perplexity" was in Old English (compare Gordian knot). Symbolic of the bond of wedlock from early 13c. As an ornament of dress, first attested c. 1400. Meaning "thickened part or protuberance on tissue of a plant" is from late 14c. As "small group or cluster of persons" late 14c.ETD knot (n.).3

    The nautical unit of measure of speed (1630s) is from the practice of attaching knotted string to the log line at equal distances (see log (n.2)). The ship's speed can be measured by the number of knots that play out while the sand glass is running.ETD knot (n.).4

    Hence the word knot came also to be used as the equivalent of a nautical mile (in pre-World War II use in U.S. and Britain, about 6,080 feet). A speed of 10 knots will cover ten nautical miles in an hour (equivalent to a land speed of about 11.5 mph).ETD knot (n.).5

    knothead (n.)

    "stupid person," by 1899, American English, from knot (n.) + head (n.). Joe Knothead is the name of a character in an 1857 blackface satire publication. And a local history from Massachusetts published in 1879 describes an old-time character known as knot-head because "[d]uring the hottest days of summer ... he worked bare-headed in the sun ...."ETD knothead (n.).2

    Knothead also was used as a term in cattle and sheep raising, defined in 1922 as "a type of poorly bred, stunted northern cattle, about the size of yearlings, but with heavy horns indicating that they are older." It turns up, however, in an 1849 petition to the Ohio Legislature, recommending a certain person for a court position, in part because he is a knot-head, which the report of the petition notes is a term of praise for a judge because they are asked to untangle knotty legal questions, but which phrase, it adds, "is believed not to be in use among gentlemen in the north part of the State." [Appendix to the Journal of the Ohio House of Representatives, Session of 1848-9]ETD knothead (n.).3

    knot-hole (n.)

    also knothole, "hole left in a plank or board after a knot has dropped out," 1726, see knot (n.) + hole (n.).ETD knot-hole (n.).2

    knotty (adj.)

    mid-13c., "full of knots" (figurative use, of questions or problems, is attested from early 13c.), from knot (n.) + -y (2). Related: Knottiness.ETD knotty (adj.).2

    knotweed (n.)

    1570s, from knot (n.) + weed (n.).ETD knotweed (n.).2

    knotwork (n.)

    1846, from knot (n.) + work (n.).ETD knotwork (n.).2

    know (n.)

    "inside information," 1883, in in the know, from know (v.) Earlier it meant "knowledge, fact of knowing" (1590s).ETD know (n.).2

    knowing (adj.)

    "with knowledge of truth," late 14c., present-participle adjective from know (v.). From c. 1500 as "shrewd, sharp, smart." Related: Knowingly.ETD knowing (adj.).2

    know (v.)

    Old English cnawan (class VII strong verb; past tense cneow, past participle cnawen), "perceive a thing to be identical with another," also "be able to distinguish" generally (tocnawan); "perceive or understand as a fact or truth" (opposed to believe); "know how (to do something)," from Proto-Germanic *knew- (source also of Old High German bi-chnaan, ir-chnaan "to know"), from PIE root *gno- "to know."ETD know (v.).2

    For pronunciation, see kn-. Once widespread in Germanic, the verb is now retained there only in English, where it has widespread application, covering meanings that require two or more verbs in other languages (such as German wissen, kennen, erkennen and in part können; French connaître "perceive, understand, recognize," savoir "have a knowledge of, know how;" Latin scire "to understand, perceive," cognoscere "get to know, recognize;" Old Church Slavonic znaja, vemi). The Anglo-Saxons also used two distinct words for this, the other being witan (see wit (v.)).ETD know (v.).3

    From c. 1200 as "to experience, live through." Meaning "to have sexual intercourse with," also found in other modern languages, is attested from c. 1200, from the Old Testament (Genesis iv.1). Attested from 1540s in colloquial phrases suggesting cunning or savvy (but often in the negative).ETD know (v.).4

    As far as (one) knows "to the best of (one's) knowledge" is late 14c. Expression God knows is from c. 1400. To know too much (to be allowed to live, escape, etc.) is from 1872. To know better "to have learned from experience" is from 1704.ETD know (v.).5

    You know as a parenthetical filler is from 1712, but it has roots in 14c. You know as a euphemism for a thing or situation unmentionable is from 1867; you-know-who for a person it is thought best not to name (but implying the hearer knows) is from 1840.ETD know (v.).6

    As an expression of surprise, what do you know attested by 1914. Don't I know it in the opposite sense ("you need not tell me") is by 1841. You never know as a response to something unexpected is attested from 1924.ETD know (v.).7

    knowable (adj.)

    c. 1400, from know (v.) + -able.ETD knowable (adj.).2

    know-how (n.)

    also knowhow, "technical expertise," 1838, American English, from know (v.) + how (adv.).ETD know-how (n.).2

    know-it-all (n.)

    "one deemed (over)full of information or correct answers," 1895, from verbal phrase; see know (v.). Earlier in the same sense was know-all (1862); and Mr. Know-All was a minor character in Bunyan's "The Holy War" (1682).ETD know-it-all (n.).2

    knowledge (n.)

    early 12c., cnawlece "acknowledgment of a superior, honor, worship;" for the first element see know (v.). The second element is obscure, perhaps from Scandinavian and cognate with the -lock "action, process," found in wedlock.ETD knowledge (n.).2

    From late 14c. as "capacity for knowing, understanding; familiarity;" also "fact or condition of knowing, awareness of a fact;" also "news, notice, information; learning; organized body of facts or teachings." The sense of "sexual intercourse" is from c. 1400. Middle English also had a verb form, knoulechen "acknowledge" (c. 1200), later "find out about; recognize," and "to have sexual intercourse with" (c. 1300); compare acknowledge.ETD knowledge (n.).3

    knowledgeable (adj.)

    also knowledgable, c. 1600, "capable of being known, recognizable" (a 17c. sense now obsolete), from knowledge in its Middle English verbal sense + -able. The sense of "having knowledge, displaying mental capacity" is from 1829 and probably a new formation.ETD knowledgeable (adj.).2

    known (adj.)

    mid-13c., knouen, "well-known, famous, notorious," past-participle adjective from know (v.). From early 14c. as "recognized, not secret; familiar, not strange." As a noun, "that which is known," by 1863; earlier "famous person" (1835). In Middle English it meant "one's acquaintances." To make (something) known is from mid-14c.ETD known (adj.).2

    know-nothing (n.)

    1827, "ignoramus," from know (v.) + nothing. As a U.S. nativist political party, active 1853-56, the name refers to the secret society at the core of the party, about which members were instructed to answer, if asked about it, that they "know nothing." The party eventually merged into the Republican Party. Related: Know-nothingism.ETD know-nothing (n.).2

    knub (n.)

    "small lump, butt-end or piece," 1560s, probably cognate with Low German knubbe "knot, knob," Danish knub "block, log, stump" (see knob).ETD knub (n.).2

    knuckle (n.)

    mid-14c., knokel "finger joint; any joint of the body, especially a knobby one; morbid lump or swelling." Perhaps in Old English, but not attested there. Common Germanic (compare Middle Low German knökel, Middle Dutch cnockel, German knöchel), literally "little bone," a diminutive of Proto-Germanic root *knuk- "bone," which is not represented in English in its simple form (but compare German Knochen "bone). For pronunciation, see kn-.ETD knuckle (n.).2

    knuckle (v.)

    1740, from knuckle (n.), originally in the game of marbles (putting a knuckle on the ground is the hand position preliminary to shooting). To knuckle down "apply oneself earnestly" is 1864 in American English, an extended sense from marbles; to knuckle under "submit, give in" is first recorded 1740, supposedly from the former more general sense of "knuckle" and here meaning "knee," hence "to kneel."ETD knuckle (v.).2

    knuckleball (n.)

    also knuckle-ball, baseball pitch, by 1909, from knuckle (n.) + ball (n.1). So called from the position of the fingers in throwing it. Short form knuckler attested from 1914 (earlier this was the name of a type of toy marble, 1895, and slang for "a pick-pocket," 1834). Related: Knuckleballer.ETD knuckleball (n.).2

    knuckle-duster (n.)

    face-busting, hand-protecting metal knuckle-guard, 1857, from knuckle (n.) + duster, name of a type of protective coat worn by workmen.ETD knuckle-duster (n.).2

    knucklehead (n.)

    also knuckle-head, "stupid person," 1890, American English, from knuckle (n.) + head (n.).ETD knucklehead (n.).2

    From 1869 as the name of a part in a type of mechanical coupling device. Popularized in the "stupid person" sense from 1942, from character R.F. Knucklehead, star of "Don't" posters hung up at U.S. Army Air Force training fields.ETD knucklehead (n.).3

    knurl (n.)

    "hard excrescence," c. 1600, probably a diminutive of Middle English knor "knot" (c. 1400), related to gnarled, from Proto-Germanic *knur- (source also of German knorren "a knotty excrescence," Dutch knor "knob," Swedish dialectal knurr "hard swelling"). Related: Knurly.ETD knurl (n.).2

    kos (n.)

    measure of distance in India (about 2 miles), from Hindi kos, from Sanskrit krosah, literally "a call, a shout;" thus, "distance within which a man's shout can be heard."ETD kos (n.).2


    Proto-Indo-European root, the stem of demonstrative pronoun meaning "this."ETD *ko-.2

    It forms all or part of: cis-; et cetera; harass; he; hence; her; here; him; his; hither; it.ETD *ko-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek ekeinos "that person;" Latin cis "on this side," citra (adv.) "on this side;" Old Church Slavonic si, Lithuanian is, Hittite ki "this;" Old English hider, Gothic hidre "hither."ETD *ko-.4

    koala (n.)

    Australian marsupial, 1808, from the Aboriginal name of the animal, variously given as koola, kulla, kula.ETD koala (n.).2

    koan (n.)

    Zen paradox meant to stimulate the mind, 1918, from Japanese ko "public" + an "matter for thought."ETD koan (n.).2


    type of fine beef, 1894, named for the region in Japan where it is raised, from Japanese ko "god" + he "house."ETD Kobe.2


    also Coblenz, city in Germany, founded by the Romans as a military outpost c. 8 B.C.E., from Latin ad confluentes "at the confluence" (see confluence); so named for its situation at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers.ETD Koblenz.2

    kobold (n.)

    German earth-elemental or nature spirit, 1830; see cobalt.ETD kobold (n.).2


    brand of hand-held camera, arbitrary coinage by U.S. inventor George Eastman (1854-1932), U.S. trademark registered Sept. 4, 1888. In 1890s, practically synonymous with camera and also used as a verb (1891). Kodachrome, registered trademark for a method of color photography, 1915; the product was discontinued in 2006.ETD Kodak.2


    Alaskan island, from Russian Kadiak, from Alutiiq (Eskimo) qikertaq "island."ETD Kodiak.2

    Koh-i-noor (n.)

    famous diamond, one of the British crown jewels after the annexation of Punjab in 1849, from Persian koh-i-nur, literally "mountain of light," from Persian koh "mountain" + Arabic nur "light."ETD Koh-i-noor (n.).2

    kohl (n.)

    "powder used to darken the eyelids, etc.," properly of finely ground antimony, 1799, from Arabic kuhl (see alcohol).ETD kohl (n.).2

    kohlrabi (n.)

    also kohl-rabi, kohl rabi, kind of cabbage, turnip cabbage, 1807, from German Kohlrabi (16c.), which is based on Italian cavoli rape, plural of cavolo rapo "cole-rape;" see cole (n.1) + rape (n.2). Form influenced in German by German kohl "cabbage."ETD kohlrabi (n.).2

    koi (n.)

    1727, from a Japanese local name for "carp."ETD koi (n.).2

    koine (n.)

    common literary dialect of Greek in the Roman and early medieval period, 1903, from feminine singular of Greek koinos "common, ordinary" (see coeno-). Used earlier as a Greek word in English. From 1926 of other dialects in similar general use.ETD koine (n.).2

    koinonia (n.)

    "Christian fellowship," 1865, Greek, literally "communion, fellowship," from koinos "common, ordinary" (see coeno-).ETD koinonia (n.).2

    kola (n.)

    "the cola nut," 1830, variant of cola (q.v.).ETD kola (n.).2

    kolkhoz (n.)

    U.S.S.R. collective farm, 1921, from Russian kolkhoz, contraction of kollektivnoe khozyaistvo "collective farm."ETD kolkhoz (n.).2

    Komodo dragon (n.)

    1927, named for Indonesian island of Komodo, where it lives.ETD Komodo dragon (n.).2

    Komsomol (n.)

    Russian communist youth organization, 1925, from Russian Komsomol, contraction of Kommunisticheskii Soyuz Molodezhi "Communist Union of Youth."ETD Komsomol (n.).2

    kook (n.)

    1960, American English slang; see kooky.ETD kook (n.).2

    kookaburra (n.)

    1883, from a native Australian word.ETD kookaburra (n.).2

    kooky (adj.)

    1959, American English, originally teenager or beatnik slang, possibly a shortening of cuckoo.ETD kooky (adj.).2

    Related: Kookily; kookiness.ETD kooky (adj.).3

    kop (n.)

    "hill," 1835, from Afrikaans, from Dutch kop "head," from the Germanic form of the root of English cup (n.); compare German Kopf "head."ETD kop (n.).2

    kopeck (n.)

    coin worth one-hundredth part of a ruble, from Russian kopeika, from kop'e "lance" (cognate with Greek kopis "chopper, cleaver;" see hatchet (n.)); so called because the coin showed the czar with lance in hand.ETD kopeck (n.).2

    kopje (n.)

    small hill in South Africa, 1852, earlier koppie (1848), from South African Dutch, diminutive of kop "hill; head" (see kop).ETD kopje (n.).2


    book which contains the Islamic religious and moral code; the standard work of classical Arabic, 1610s, from Arabic qur'an "a reading, recitation, book," from root of quara-a "he read, recited." Related: Koranic.ETD Koran.2


    in Greek mythology, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, also called Persephone in her aspect as Hades's wife, from Greek korē "maiden," from PIE *korwo- "growing" (hence "adolescent"), from suffixed form of root *ker- (2) "to grow."ETD Kore.2


    by 1690s, from Chinese Gao li, name of a dynasty founded 918, literally "high serenity." Japanese Chosen is from Korean Choson, literally "land of morning calm," from cho "morning" + son "calm." Related: Korean (1610s). In early use Corea, Corean.ETD Korea.2

    kosher (adj.)

    "ritually fit or pure, clean, lawful, conforming to the requirements of the Talmud" (especially of food), 1850, in early use also kasher, coshar, from Yiddish kosher, from Hebrew kasher "fit, proper, lawful," from base of kasher "was suitable, proper." Generalized sense of "correct, legitimate" is from 1896.ETD kosher (adj.).2

    kowtow (n.)

    also kow-tow, 1804, from Chinese k'o-t'ou, custom of touching the ground with the forehead while kneeling as a gesture of respect or submission, literally "knock the head," from k'o "knock, bump" + t'ou "head."ETD kowtow (n.).2

    kowtow (v.)

    also kow-tow, 1826 in the figurative sense of "act in an obsequious manner," from kowtow (n.). Literal sense in English is from 1848. Related: Kowtowed; kowtowing.ETD kowtow (v.).2

    k.p. (n.)

    "kitchen duty," 1935, apparently short for kitchen police (duties), itself attested from 1933 as part of Boy Scouting and other camping activities; during World War II the abbreviation often was understood as kitchen patrol, which is from 1940. Old English also had cycenðenung "service in the kitchen."ETD k.p. (n.).2

    kraal (n.)

    "village, pen, enclosure," 1731, South African, from colonial Dutch kraal, from Portuguese curral "pen or enclosure for animals" (see corral (n.)).ETD kraal (n.).2

    kraken (n.)

    sea-monster said to appear from time to time off the coast of Norway, 1755, from Norwegian dialectal krake (the -n is the definite article as a suffix), apparently a special use of krake "pole, stake, post," also "crooked tree, stunted animal or person."ETD kraken (n.).2


    city in southern Poland, said to have been named for a supposed founder, Krak. Related: Krakowiak.ETD Krakow.2

    Krampus (n.)

    also Krampusz, 1872, name of a Germanic folkloric figure who assists St. Nicholas at Christmas-time by punishing the wicked with abduction and/or flogging.ETD Krampus (n.).2

    In older German texts often spelled Grampus or Grampes. The name is of uncertain etymology. Encyclopedia Britannica derives it from German Krampen, "claw." OED ventures no further than to suggest "the Germanic base of cramp." This would include among possibilities Bavarian dialect gramp, a scolding word for a naughty child, from Middle High German grimpfen, krimpfen, meaning bent or crooked (for sense evolution compare crook); there is also Swiss dialect grampen, "to grab; to snatch."ETD Krampus (n.).3

    Kraut (n.)

    "a German" (especially a German soldier), 1841, but popularized during World War I, from German kraut "cabbage," considered a characteristic national dish. The "cabbage" sense is attested in English from 1855.ETD Kraut (n.).2

    Krebs cycle

    1941, named for Sir Hans Adolf Krebs (1900-1981), German-born British biochemist.ETD Krebs cycle.2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to sieve," thus "discriminate, distinguish."ETD *krei-.2

    It forms all or part of: ascertain; certain; concern; concert; crime; criminal; crisis; critic; criterion; decree; diacritic; discern; disconcert; discreet; discriminate; endocrine; excrement; excrete; garble; hypocrisy; incertitude; recrement; recriminate; riddle (n.2) "coarse sieve;" secret; secretary.ETD *krei-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek krinein "to separate, decide, judge," krinesthai "to explain;" Latin cribrum "sieve," crimen "judgment, crime," cernere "to sift, distinguish, separate;" Old Irish criathar, Old Welsh cruitr "sieve;" Middle Irish crich "border, boundary;" Old English hriddel "sieve."ETD *krei-.4


    1660s, Cremelena, from Old Russian kremlinu, later kremlin (1796), from kreml' "citadel, fortress," a word perhaps of Tartar origin. Originally the citadel of any Russian town or city, now especially the one in Moscow (which enclosed the imperial palace, churches, etc.). Used metonymically for "government of the U.S.S.R." from 1933. The modern form of the word in English might be via French.ETD Kremlin.2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to begin to freeze, form a crust."ETD *kreus-.2

    It forms all or part of: crouton; crust; Crustacea; crustacean; cryo-; cryogenic; crystal; crystalline; crystallize; custard; encrust; Kristallnacht.ETD *kreus-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit krud- "make hard, thicken;" Avestan xruzdra- "hard;" Greek krystallos "ice, crystal," kryos "icy cold, frost;" Latin crusta "rind, crust, shell, bark;" Lettish kruwesis "frozen mud;" Old High German hrosa "ice, crust;" Old English hruse "earth;" Old Norse hroðr "scurf."ETD *kreus-.4


    *kreuə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "raw flesh."ETD *kreue-.2

    It forms all or part of:ETD *kreue-.3

    creatine; creosote; crude; cruel; ecru; pancreas; raw; recrudesce; recrudescence.ETD *kreue-.4

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit kravis- "raw flesh," krura- "raw, bloody;" Greek kreas "flesh;" Latin crudus "bloody, raw; cruel," cruor "thick blood;" Old Irish cru "gore, blood," Middle Irish cruaid "hardy, harsh, stern;" Old Church Slavonic kry "blood;" Old Prussian krawian, Lithuanian kraūjas "blood;" Old English hreaw "raw," hrot "thick fluid, serum."ETD *kreue-.5

    kreutzer (n.)

    small coin of Germany and Austria, 1540s, so called because formerly marked with a cross, from German Kreuz (see cross (n.)).ETD kreutzer (n.).2

    kris (n.)

    short Malay dagger with a wavy blade, 1570s, said to be a Javanese word. In early use also spelled creese, etc.ETD kris (n.).2

    kriegspiel (n.)

    war games played on maps with blocks representing bodies of soldiers, 1873 (once, from 1811, as a German word in English), from German Kriegsspiel, literally "war game," from Krieg "war," from Middle High German kriec, "combat," mostly "exertion, effort; opposition, enmity, resistance," from Old High German chreg "stubbornness, defiance, obstinacy," from Proto-Germanic *krig-, which is perhaps from PIE root *gwere- (1) "heavy" or cognate with Greek hybris "violence" (see hubris; also see war (n.)). For second element, see spiel (n.). Introduced 1870s as officer training in British army.ETD kriegspiel (n.).2

    krill (n.)

    1886, from Norwegian kril "small fry of fish."ETD krill (n.).2


    eighth avatar of Vishnu, 1793, from Sanskrit krshnah, literally "the Black One," from PIE *kers-no-, suffixed form of root *kers- "dark, dirty" (source also of Old Church Slavonic crunu, Russian coron, Serbo-Croatian crn, Czech cerny, Old Prussian kirsnan "black," Lithuanian keršas "black and white, variegated").ETD Krishna.2

    Kriss Kringle

    1830, Christ-kinkle (in a Pennsylvania German context, and as a reminiscence of times past, so probably at least a generation older in that setting), from German Christkindlein, Christkind'l "Christ child." Second element is a diminutive of German Kind "child" (see kin (n.)). Properly Baby Jesus, not Santa Claus.ETD Kriss Kringle.2

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