1. One that kicks: stayed clear of the donkey known to be a kicker; the team's kicker who kicks field goals.
a. A sudden, surprising turn of events or ending; a twist.
b. A tricky or concealed condition; a pitfall: "The kicker is that the relationship of guide and seeker gets all mixed up with a confusing male-female attachment" (Gail Sheehy).
3. A condition that imposes an automatic increase, as in a pension plan.
4. A small outboard motor.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.