Definition of kite in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /kʌɪt/


1A toy consisting of a light frame with thin material stretched over it, flown in the wind at the end of a long string.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Small children ran about with kites or pet dogs, their nannies close behind.
1.1British informal, dated An aircraft.
Example sentences
  • In 1899 they built a little five-foot wingspan biplane kite to test out their control system.
  • Don't let the ground crew wash down your kite.
  • The Squadron hasn't lost a single kite in the last three raids.
1.2 Sailing , informal A spinnaker or other high, light sail.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Image of kite
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.
Example sentences
  • Initially, they could not figure out if the bird was a kite or an eagle.
  • He claims the kites interact with pheasants without any problems, and many gamekeepers in the area are supportive of the birds.
  • Proponents claimed that the improved stork habitat would benefit the kites as well, which also frequented that area.
3 informal A fraudulent cheque, bill, or receipt.
3.1An illicit or surreptitious letter or note.
Example sentences
  • Inmates manage to pass ‘kites’ or handwritten notes to each other.
3.2 archaic A person who exploits or preys on others.
4 Geometry A quadrilateral figure having two pairs of equal adjacent sides, symmetrical only about one diagonal.


1 [no object] (usually as noun kiting) Fly a kite.
Example sentences
  • 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.
1.1 [with adverbial of direction] Fly; move quickly: he kited into England on Concorde
More example sentences
  • They can glide with wings held level, and kite (soar on the wind without flapping wings) and hover in moderate winds.
  • At one point it got about a hundred yards away from the boat and kited fast through a thick weedbed.
  • Hundreds of wary eyes view me with suspicion as I begin taking pictures, kiting back and forth in the tide.
2 [with object] North American informal Write or use (a cheque, bill, or receipt) fraudulently.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • He was up to his ears in debt - always kiting checks before payday.


(as) high as a kite

informal Intoxicated with drugs or alcohol.
Example sentences
  • One day I'd be high as a kite, unnaturally happy, but this was always followed by two weeks of staring at my feet.
  • I was high as a kite - it was like I'd had a load of drugs.
  • 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.


Old English cȳta (in 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.

  • In Old English this word was used for the bird of prey, remarkable for its ability to hang effortlessly in the air as it searches for food. The bird's name was transferred to the toy that floats in the air in the same way in the mid 17th century.

Words that rhyme with kite

affright, alight, alright, aright, bedight, bight, bite, blight, bright, byte, cite, dight, Dwight, excite, fight, flight, fright, goodnight, height, ignite, impolite, indict, indite, invite, knight, light, lite, might, mite, night, nite, outfight, outright, plight, polite, quite, right, rite, sight, site, skintight, skite, sleight, slight, smite, Snow-white, spite, sprite, tight, tonight, trite, twite, underwrite, unite, uptight, white, wight, wright, write

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: kite

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.