kith and kin (kĭth ən kĭn)
1. One's acquaintances and relatives.
2. One's relatives.
[Middle English kith, from Old English cȳth, kinsfolk, neighbors; see gnō- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Word History: Kith is obsolete except in the alliterative expression kith and kin, a phrase that dates from Middle English times and seems to have already become a cliché by the 1300s. The Middle English noun kith meant basically "familiar country, place that one knows" and also "kinsfolk, relations." It comes from the Old English noun cȳth, meaning "knowledge," "known, familiar country," and "acquaintances, friends." Cȳth in turn comes from the Germanic noun *kunthithō, a derivative of *kunthaz, "known." Germanic *kunthaz was the past participle of a verb *kunnan, "to know, know how," which became cunnan in Old English. The first person singular of this verb, can, is alive and well today, as is what was originally the verbal noun and adjective of cunnan, namely cunning, which first appeared in the 1300s.
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