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kite

kite / kīt/ • n. 1. a toy consisting of a light frame with thin material stretched over it, flown in the wind at the end of a long string. ∎  Sailing, inf. a spinnaker or other high, light sail. 2. a medium to large long-winged bird of prey (family Accipitridae) that typically has a forked tail and frequently soars on updrafts of air. Several genera and many species include the American swallow-tailed kite (Elanoides forficatus). 3. inf. a fraudulent check, bill, or receipt. ∎  an illicit or surreptitious letter or note. 4. Geom. a quadrilateral figure having two pairs of equal adjacent sides, symmetrical only about its diagonals. • v. [tr.] inf. write or use (a check, bill, or receipt) fraudulently. PHRASES: (as) high as a kite inf. intoxicated with drugs or alcohol.

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kite

kite 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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kite (in zoology)

kite, in zoology, common name for a bird of the family Accipitridae, which also includes the hawk. Kites are found near water and marshes in warm parts of the world. They prey chiefly on reptiles, frogs, and insects. The swallow-tailed, white-tailed, and Mississippi kites are found in the Gulf states and in Central and South America. The Everglade kite, Rostrhamus sociabilis, feeds exclusively on a large freshwater snail. The common kite of England, now rare, was once a scavenger in the streets of London. Kites are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Falconiformes, family Accipitridae.

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kite

kite Diverse group of hawks of the sub-family Milvinae, found in open country worldwide. Kites have hooked bills, long wings, and a long, forked tail. They are usually scavangers. The red kite, Milvus milvus, is common throughout rural Europe. Length: 60cm (24in). Family Accipitridae.

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kite

kite bird of prey OE.; toy to be flown XVII. OE. cȳta, prob. of imit. orig.

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