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Old English[edit]


From Proto-West Germanic *kuni



cynn n (nominative plural cynn)

  1. kind
  2. tribe, race, species
  3. family
    • c. 900, translation of Orosius' History Against the Pagans
      Be þām hringum man meahte witan hwæt Rōmāna duguþe ġefeallen wæs, for þon þe hit wæs þēaw mid him on þām dagum þæt nān ōðer ne mōste gyldenne hring werian būtan hē æðeles cynnes wǣre.
      You could tell by the rings how much of the Roman nobility had fallen, because the custom back then was that no one could wear a gold ring unless they were from a noble family.
  4. (grammar) gender
    • c. 995, Ælfric, Extracts on Grammar in English
      Is ēac tō witenne þæt naman bēoþ oft ōðres cynnes on Lǣden and ōðres cynnes on Englisċ.
      Note also that nouns are often one gender in Latin and another gender in English.
  5. (rare) natural gender


Derived terms[edit]


  • Middle English: kin, kyn, ken, kun