One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Difficult to deal with; prone to erratic behaviour.unpredictable, temperamental, emotional, volatile, capricious, changeable, mercurial, unstable, fickle, flighty, inconstant, undependable, unsteady, erratic, fitful, impulsiveView synonyms
Mid 16th century: from kittle ‘to tickle’ (now Scots and dialect), probably from Old Norse kitla.
verb[no object]Scottish, Northern Irish
(of a cat) give birth.‘she has kittled in my chair’
- ‘If your cat and my cat kittled on the same day, that'd be a coincidence.’
- ‘They were all young animals, kittled in a wood not far from the lodge.’
- ‘The cat's just kittled in the little room.’
Mid 16th century: perhaps a back-formation of kitling ‘young animal, cub’.
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