Definition of kite in English:



  • 1A toy consisting of a light frame with thin material stretched over it, flown in the wind at the end of a long string.

    • ‘Alex said that when he was about six, he remembers hiking to the top of a mountain with his grandparents and flying kites with his grandfather.’
    • ‘Kids were flying kites and men were playing soccer.’
    • ‘Despite one close call when it dropped so far that the line briefly got caught in the branches of a tree, I kept the kite airborne for the best part of half an hour.’
    • ‘A large crowd of spectators gathered to watch multi-coloured kites of all shapes and sizes soaring and looping over the town.’
    • ‘Small children ran about with kites or pet dogs, their nannies close behind.’
    1. 1.1British dated, informal An aircraft.
      • ‘Don't let the ground crew wash down your kite.’
      • ‘The suddenly-famous Airbus (which happens to be the most comfortable kite Air Canada has ever owned) has been lurking in the background for a long time.’
      • ‘The Squadron hasn't lost a single kite in the last three raids.’
      • ‘In 1899 they built a little five-foot wingspan biplane kite to test out their control system.’
      aircraft, craft, flying machine
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    2. 1.2Sailing informal A spinnaker or other high, light sail.
      • ‘The full effect of a strong Westerly with accompanying big Atlantic seas was felt on the second day when the race officer ordered small kites to be used.’
      • ‘We managed to get a clear downwind start with the kite up.’
  • 2A medium to large long-winged bird of prey which typically has a forked tail and frequently soars on updraughts of air.

    Milvus and other genera, family Accipitridae: many species, in particular the red kite and black kite

    • ‘Apparently a few years back there were only six pairs of breeding kites in the UK (in mid-Wales, I believe), but thankfully they have been thriving and multiplying since then.’
    • ‘Proponents claimed that the improved stork habitat would benefit the kites as well, which also frequented that area.’
    • ‘To date 42 young kites have been released into the wild from a secret site located on the Harewood Estate, near Leeds.’
    • ‘He claims the kites interact with pheasants without any problems, and many gamekeepers in the area are supportive of the birds.’
    • ‘Initially, they could not figure out if the bird was a kite or an eagle.’
    • ‘Today, in a scene the Victorians would have recognised, kites can be seen flying 50 ft above villages in the Chilterns.’
  • 3informal A fraudulent cheque, bill, or receipt.

    deception, trick, cheat, hoax, subterfuge, stratagem, wile, ruse, artifice, swindle, racket
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    1. 3.1 An illicit or surreptitious letter or note.
      • ‘Inmates manage to pass ‘kites’ or handwritten notes to each other.’
    2. 3.2archaic A person who exploits or preys on others.
  • 4Geometry
    A quadrilateral figure having two pairs of equal adjacent sides, symmetrical only about one diagonal.


  • 1usually as noun kitingno object Fly a kite.

    • ‘A childhood judo enthusiast, he now just sticks to diving, surfing and kiting.’
    • ‘We have computer programmers, doctors and professors in the club who enjoy kiting because to do it well you need to put everything else from your mind.’
    • ‘The popularity of traditional kiting dipped a few years ago as people took up power kiting - using a large kite to power a buggy, skateboard or surf board.’
    run, race, leap, sprint, dash, rush, speed, streak, shoot, whizz, whoosh, buzz, zoom, flash, blast, charge, stampede, chase, career, bustle, hare, fly, wing, skite, dive, jump, skip, scurry, scud, scutter, scramble, hurry, hasten
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    1. 1.1with adverbial of direction Fly; move quickly.
      ‘he kited into England on Concorde’
      • ‘At one point it got about a hundred yards away from the boat and kited fast through a thick weedbed.’
      • ‘They can glide with wings held level, and kite (soar on the wind without flapping wings) and hover in moderate winds.’
      • ‘Hundreds of wary eyes view me with suspicion as I begin taking pictures, kiting back and forth in the tide.’
  • 2North American informal with object Write or use (a cheque, bill, or receipt) fraudulently.

    • ‘Prosecutors haven't revealed how he was tracked down, but as part of the plea deal they agreed not to prosecute the former fed for kiting checks through his Bank of America account while a fugitive.’
    • ‘When the inter-bank settlement system temporarily fails to clear transactions banks are effectively ‘bouncing or kiting checks’ to each other.’
    • ‘The book opens with Blanche White in jail for unsuccessfully kiting checks to buy groceries with.’
    • ‘I resolved to press for the release of all the names of those who kited checks at the Bank.’
    • ‘He was up to his ears in debt - always kiting checks before payday.’


  • (as) high as a kite

    • informal Intoxicated with drugs or alcohol.

      • ‘What this learned and articulate man proposed was a kind of ‘Chemical Olympics’, in which anyone - as high as a kite or otherwise - could legitimately compete.’
      • ‘After taking a post-gig bow and being cheered from the stage by his adoring public, Elmo unwound in the upstairs bar, still high as a kite following his triumph.’
      • ‘One day I'd be high as a kite, unnaturally happy, but this was always followed by two weeks of staring at my feet.’
      • ‘When I'm high as a kite, I sometimes feel like I am so damn hot that everybody in the world wants to have sex with me.’
      • ‘Early one morning they drive away from the club, with Annabel high as a kite in the back seat, and crash the car.’
      • ‘Her parties were in famous for being an opportunity to get drunk out of your mind and as high as a kite.’
      • ‘I was high as a kite - it was like I'd had a load of drugs.’
      • ‘The White Stripes don't sound so bad when you're high as a kite.’
      • ‘She's clearly high as a kite and in desperate need of medication, but he keeps on filming.’
      • ‘Judging from his jerky motions and his giddy expression, he is still as high as a kite on adrenaline.’
      stupefied, insensible, befuddled
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Old English cȳta (in kite (sense 2 of the noun)); probably of imitative origin and related to German Kauz ‘screech owl’. The toy was so named because it hovers in the air like the bird.