v. kicked, kick·ing, kicks
1. To extend the leg away from the body; strike out with the foot or feet.
a. To score or gain ground by kicking a ball.
b. To punt in football.
c. To propel the body in swimming by moving the legs, as with a flutter kick or frog kick.
3. To recoil: The powerful rifle kicked upon being fired.
a. To express negative feelings vigorously; complain.
b. To oppose by argument; protest.
1. To strike with the foot: kicked the wall in frustration.
2. To propel by striking with the foot: kick a ball.
3. To spring back against suddenly: The rifle kicked my shoulder when I fired it.
4. Sports To score (a goal or point) by kicking a ball.
a. A vigorous blow with the foot.
b. Sports The motion of the legs that propels the body in swimming.
2. Any of various moves in dance in which the leg is extended from the body.
3. A jolting recoil: a rifle with a heavy kick.
4. Slang A complaint; a protest.
5. Slang Power; force: a car engine with a lot of kick.
a. A feeling of pleasurable stimulation: got a kick out of the show.
b. kicks Fun: went bowling just for kicks.
7. Slang Temporary, often obsessive interest: I'm on a science fiction kick.
8. Slang A sudden, striking surprise; a twist.
9. kicks Slang Shoes.
a. The act or an instance of kicking a ball.
b. A kicked ball.
c. The distance spanned by a kicked ball.
kick about Informal
To move from place to place.
kick around Informal
1. To treat badly; abuse.
2. To move from place to place: "spent the next three years in Italy, kicking around the country on a motor scooter" (Charles E. Claffey).
3. To give thought or consideration to; ponder or discuss.
1. To recoil unexpectedly and violently.
2. Informal To take it easy; relax: kicked back at home and watched TV.
3. Slang To return (stolen items).
4. Slang To pay a kickback.
1. Informal To contribute (one's share): kicked in a few dollars for the office party.
2. Informal To become operative or take effect: "His pituitary kicked in, and his growth was suddenly vertical" (Kenneth Browser).
3. Slang To die.
1. Sports To begin or resume play with a kickoff.
2. Informal To begin; start: kicked off the promotional tour with a press conference.
3. Slang To die.
kick out Slang
To throw out; dismiss.
To begin to fire: The engine finally kicked over.
kick up InformalIdioms:
1. To increase in amount or force; intensify: A sandstorm kicked up while we drove through the desert.
2. To stir up (trouble): kicked up a row.
3. To show signs of disorder: His ulcer has kicked up again.
kick ass/butt Vulgar Slang
To take forceful or harsh measures to achieve an objective.
kick the bucket Slang
kick the habit Slang
To free oneself of an addiction, as to narcotics or cigarettes.
kick up (one's) heels Informal
To cast off one's inhibitions and have a good time.
kick upstairs Slang
To promote to a higher yet less desirable position.
[Middle English kiken, perhaps of Scandinavian origin.]
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.