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kite


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From the mid 16th century, the name of this bird of prey was used figuratively for a person preying on others, a rapacious person, a sharper.

The use of kite to mean a toy consisting of a light frame with thin material stretched over it, flown in the wind at the end of a long string, is recorded from the mid 17th century, and derives from its hovering in the air like a bird.

The name is recorded from Old English (in form cȳta), and is probably of imitative origin and related to German Kauz ‘screech owl’.

as high as a kite intoxicated with drugs or alcohol (the expression is recorded from the mid 20th century).

See also fly a kite at fly2.


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