from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Often an error for kith and kin.
  • noun archaic Relatives and property; one's total possessions.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Literally, friends (“kith”) and cattle (“kine”). Compare Latinate capital and chattel, which also use “cow” to mean “property”,


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  • I think this is an eggcorn of kith and kin. Albeit, an old one. The word kith more generally refers to friends and acquaintances while kin refers to family ... thus kith and kin means "friends and family".

    The word kine is an archaic plural of cow. So kith and kine would mean "friends and cows".

    Kin and Kine would make more sense than kith and kine. Other than a play on words in a book about cows, I haven't found "kith and kine" used.

    In ME English we find such spelling variations: Oþer whyle þou muste be fals a-monge kythe & kynne. ... and here kynne = kin.

    So I think this is nothing more than eggcorn.

    December 17, 2011