Adventures in Etymology – Kith and Kin

In this Adventure we’re looking into the words kith and kin.

We had all the kinfolk over fer Thanksgivins.

Kith [kɪθ] means:

  • Friends and acquaintances (archaic/obsolete)

It appears in the expression kith and kin (both friends and family) and comes from the Middle English kith (kinsmen, relations), from Old English cȳþþu [ˈkyːθ.θu] (knoweldge, native land, home) from Proto-Germanic *kunþiþō (knowledge, acquaintance), from PIE *ǵneh₃- (to know) [source].

Engish words from the same roots include can, cunning, gnome, know, noble, quaint and uncouth [source].

Kin [kɪn] means:

  • Race, family, breed, kind
  • Persons of the same race or family, kindred
  • One or more relatives

It comes from Middle English kyn (family, native, tribe, clan), from Old English cynn (kind, tribe, race, species, family), from Proto-West-Germanic *kuni (family, kin), from Proto-Germanic *kunją (kin, family, clan) from PIE *ǵenh₁- (to beget, give birth) [source]

Engish words from the same roots include cognate, engine, gene, genius, gentle, kind and nature [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

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