Definition of kitten in English:



  • 1A young cat.

    • ‘Conflict among siblings is of course not unique to humans; you only need to watch a litter of puppies or kittens to realise that young animals also love to taunt and fight.’
    • ‘The black kitten meowed, and bounded up to her.’
    • ‘Grinning, he twirled his hand around the kitten as the tiny animal chased him, attempting to pounce.’
    • ‘I could the kitten meowing all the way down the hallway.’
    • ‘Every area of the sanctuary is full, with 54 cats and kittens, 35 dogs and more than 50 rabbits and small rodents all looking for loving homes.’
    • ‘Domestic kittens are weaned at about 8 weeks old and become independent at about 6 months old.’
    • ‘In the corner a tabby cat is curled round a nest of her kittens.’
    • ‘They had just bought the most adorable little fluffy kitten.’
    • ‘Reaching across my stomach, he stroked the kitten's fur as she continued to purr happily at the attention.’
    • ‘She let out a sigh of relief and leaned down to pet the kitten.’
    • ‘We have been called out to rescue all sorts of animals from kittens, badgers, foxes and even a deer.’
    • ‘Eleven out of 13 rescued kittens featured in the Advertiser have found new homes.’
    • ‘A small, tabby kitten walked out, sniffing the air.’
    • ‘The Animal Centre will accommodate 60 cats and kittens, plus 40 dogs and puppies.’
    • ‘Katlyn fed the kitten the milk and it soon fell asleep.’
    • ‘Please think about adopting an adult cat rather than a kitten, because a kitten is always assured of a home!’
    • ‘Her kitten, Tigger, is black with white socks on his back feet.’
    • ‘I have nine cats, three of them kittens, and they all sleep with me at night.’
    • ‘Organisations such as the Northern Rivers Animal Shelter and the Animal Rights and Rescue have been inundated with unwanted animals, especially kittens.’
    • ‘When I was 8 years old I had a pet kitten, Fluffy.’
    1. 1.1The young of several other animals, such as the rabbit and beaver.
      • ‘Red squirrels have one brood of young each year and two or three kittens are produced.’
      • ‘While the mother Cougar will look after her kittens for up to eighteen months, they are solitary animals and only come together to mate.’
      • ‘Usually lynx roam a mile or two a day, but when the females prepare to have kittens, they zero in on a small area as they choose a den, aiming to hole up for a while.’
      • ‘The mesh that protects the reserve is three centimetres in diameter, which is small enough to keep even rabbit kittens out.’
      • ‘A similar-sized bobcat might have three kittens in each litter and give birth every year.’
  • 2A stout furry grey and white moth, the caterpillar of which resembles that of the puss moth.


  • (of a cat or certain other animals) give birth.

    • ‘However, many cats are contrary and may choose the most inconvenient places to kitten in, such as your bed.’
    • ‘Supply several large cardboard boxes well lined with newspaper for her to kitten in.’


Late Middle English kitoun, ketoun, from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French chitoun, diminutive of chat cat.