Definition of kitten in US English:

kitten

noun

  • 1A young cat.

    • ‘Her kitten, Tigger, is black with white socks on his back feet.’
    • ‘Eleven out of 13 rescued kittens featured in the Advertiser have found new homes.’
    • ‘I could the kitten meowing all the way down the hallway.’
    • ‘A small, tabby kitten walked out, sniffing the air.’
    • ‘They had just bought the most adorable little fluffy kitten.’
    • ‘I have nine cats, three of them kittens, and they all sleep with me at night.’
    • ‘In the corner a tabby cat is curled round a nest of her kittens.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When I was 8 years old I had a pet kitten, Fluffy.’
    • ‘Grinning, he twirled his hand around the kitten as the tiny animal chased him, attempting to pounce.’
    • ‘Organisations such as the Northern Rivers Animal Shelter and the Animal Rights and Rescue have been inundated with unwanted animals, especially kittens.’
    • ‘The Animal Centre will accommodate 60 cats and kittens, plus 40 dogs and puppies.’
    • ‘The black kitten meowed, and bounded up to her.’
    • ‘Reaching across my stomach, he stroked the kitten's fur as she continued to purr happily at the attention.’
    • ‘Domestic kittens are weaned at about 8 weeks old and become independent at about 6 months old.’
    • ‘Katlyn fed the kitten the milk and it soon fell asleep.’
    • ‘We have been called out to rescue all sorts of animals from kittens, badgers, foxes and even a deer.’
    • ‘She let out a sigh of relief and leaned down to pet the kitten.’
    • ‘Please think about adopting an adult cat rather than a kitten, because a kitten is always assured of a home!’
    cat, domestic cat, wild cat, alley cat
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The young of several other animals, such as the rabbit and beaver.
      • ‘A similar-sized bobcat might have three kittens in each litter and give birth every year.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Red squirrels have one brood of young each year and two or three kittens are produced.’
      • ‘The mesh that protects the reserve is three centimetres in diameter, which is small enough to keep even rabbit kittens out.’
  • 2A stout furry gray and white moth, the caterpillar of which resembles that of the puss moth.

    Genus Furcula, family Notodontidae

verb

[no object]
  • (of a cat or certain other animals) give birth.

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

Phrases

  • have kittens

    • informal Be extremely nervous or upset.

      • ‘Can't say as I blame her, if I was her I'd be having kittens over it too.’
      • ‘I don't know how captain Rhona Martin managed it because I was having kittens just watching.’
      • ‘When the surgery said a doctor was in the area and would call round, she nearly had kittens.’
      • ‘His mother would probably have kittens if she could see him.’
      • ‘The PM's bodyguards must be having kittens.’
      • ‘Hey, Asha, I think your mother's gonna have kittens if you don't go eat breakfast.’
      • ‘I nearly had kittens when my Mum told me she knew.’
      • ‘No-one seems to know who is paying - the Metropolitan Police Authority is rightly having kittens at the possible budget consequences, as most of the police officers qualified for the job come from their force.’
      • ‘The trio of bored guards lounging around outside my door had kittens when I appeared.’
      • ‘My father is probably having kittens worrying about me.’
      anxious, disturbed, perturbed, troubled, bothered, distressed, concerned, upset, distraught, worried sick, disquieted, uneasy, ill at ease, fretful, fretting, agitated, in a state of agitation, nervous, edgy, on edge, like a cat on a hot tin roof, tense, overwrought, worked up, keyed up, strung out, jumpy, with one's stomach in knots, stressed, under stress
      View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

kitten

/ˈkɪtn//ˈkitn/