Definition of kickshaw in US English:



  • 1A fancy but insubstantial cooked dish, especially one of foreign origin.

    • ‘Puddings, ‘kickshaws’, or ‘made dishes’, and salads of cooked, pickled, or raw vegetables, herbs, and flowers.’
    • ‘Different tasty kickshaws baked in a puff pastry.’
    • ‘Yet I had ordered duck pie, alamode beef and soused hog's face as well, apart from the kickshaws.’
    • ‘Tonolo's put it in little choux buns, puff-pastry kickshaws, tiny tartlets, and God knows what else.’
    1. 1.1North American An elegant but insubstantial trinket.
      • ‘But Musgrave, in his sturdy, common-sense way, only laughed at her seriousness over such kickshaws.’
      • ‘He pursues the miching-malicho lyric and the possibilities it offers, but always with an acute sense of how to true the comic impulse that vitalizes his sublime as well as kickshaw modes.’


Late 16th century: from French quelque chose ‘something’. The French spelling was common in the 17th century; the present form results from interpretation of quelque chose as plural.