These are always fun tidbits to see words that were considered slang and commonly used. It's fun to see how many are still used today and how some have entirely different meanings today. Enjoy!
Kanaka, a native of the Sandwich Islands.
Keel over, to capsize or upset .
Keep it up, to prolong a spree.
Keeps, "to play for," said by boys in playing marbles where
the winner keeps the winnings. Applied also to anything
meant in earnest.
Kelter, money. Probably from the German gelt.
Ken (Gip.), a house. Boozing or Lushing-ken, a tavern or drinking-house. Probably from the Persian khan, a house or inn.
Ken (Scotch), to know.
Kenspeckle (Scotch), easily known because marked or branded.
Ketch, Jack> the English hangman. According to Macaulay a person of that name officiated as public executioner temp Charles II. See Jack Ketch, ante.
Kettle offish (Eng.), trouble of any kind. "Here's apretty
kettle of fish" is said of a muddle or mess.
Key of the street (Eng.), an imaginary instrument said to be possessed by one locked out of doors.
Keystone State (Am.), Pennsylvania.
Kibosh, nonsense, stuff, humbug, palaver.
To put the kibosh on one is to deceive him. Another meaning is to put a stop to anything.
Kick (Am.), to object or protest.
Kick, "I'll be there in a kick," I'll be there in a minute.
Kick (Eng.), sixpence. "Two and a kick" represents half a crown.
Kicked in, smitten, mashed. Kicked the bucket, dead.
kick over the traces, to be independent of control, or to spend money extravagantly.
Kickshaw (Eng.), a made dish. SeeIIHenry IV, v. i. Kicksies (Eng.), trousers.
Kick up, a noise or disturbance. "To kick up a row" or "kick up the dust."
Kid, a child.
Kid, to joke, chaff or hoax.
Kiddily, fashionably dressed.
Kid nap, from kid, a child, and had, to steal, both originally Gipsy words and now as combined meaning to abduct or carry away a person.
Kidney, "of that kidney," of that kind.
Kid on (Eng.), to induce a person to do anything.
Kidsman (Eng.), a trainer of young thieves.
Killock (Am.), a small anchor.
Kilter, "out of" (Am.), off the level, out of sorts.
Kimbo or A-Kimbo, holding the arms in a bent position from the body and resting the hands on the hips.
Kinuner or Cummer (Scotch), an acquaintance or gossipKinchin (Gip.), a child.
Kinchin cove (Gip.), one who robs children.
Kinchin lay (Gip.), robbing children on the streets. "Noah Claypole" in Oliver Twist was a proficient in this art.
Kindlings (Am.), broken wood used for lighting fires.
Kingpin (Am.), the tallest pin atskittles or ten-pins. Used by analogy to signify the chief or superior.
King's pictures or Queen's pictures (Eng.), coin.
Kink, a knot or twist.
Kinky, curly, like a negroes hair.
Kirk (Scotch), a church.
Kiss, at billiards, when two balls strike each other in the course of their movement on the table, the stroke not being intended by the player.
Kiss-curl or Bowcatcher, a small curl twisted on the forehead.
Kisser (P. R.), the mouth.
Kissing-crust (Eng.), the soft crust which marks where one
loaf has touched another in the oven. Kiss-me-quick, a short veil; a bonnet not now in fashion. Kit, baggage or personal belongings. Also a "kit" of tools.
Kite-flying, raising money on accommodation bills. See Flying Kites, ante.
Kittle (Scotch), fickle, uncertain.
Kitty, in the game of draw-poker, each player raking in a pot with two pairs or better, or winning a jack-pot, puts a "chip" into a hole in the table for the good of the house.
Knacker, an old and decrepit horse. Also the man who slaughters such.
Knap (Eng.), to steal. No doubt from Nab, (y. v.)
Knap, to receive or take.
Knee-high, of diminutive stature. "Knee-high to a grasshopper."
Knickerbocker (Am.), a descendant of one of the old Dutch families of New York.
Knife (Am.), to knife a person, is to do him harm, to stab him in character if not in person. Knife-board, the long seat on top of a London omnibus.
Knobstick (Eng.), a non-union workman. See Rat Knock-down, strong ale.
Knock-down (Am.), to embezzle.
Knocked-up (Eng.), tired, played out. Knocker, "up to the," swell, in the height of fashion. Knocked into a cocked hat,
knocked out of shape.
Knock off, to quit work.
Knock-out, in racing parlance, to drive a horse out of the betting list. A bankrupt is said to be "knocked-out."
Knock out (Am.), an arrangement by brokers at auction sales to refrain from competition. Anyone of the gang acquires the coveted lots and at a subsequent sale confined to the members of the knock-out each man has the right to bid for the articles he wants. The proceeds are then divided among the confederates.
Knock-out, a fight in which one of the combatants is rendered senseless or is so badly damaged as to be unable to respond to the call of time.
Knock under (Old), to submit.
Knowing, sharp, shrewd, fly, sometimes dishonest.
Knowledge-box (Eng.), the head.
Know-nothings, the so-called American party, which from i852 to i856 cut a considerable figure in politics. They composed a secret society and got their name from always professing to know nothing when questioned as to the objects of the order.
Knuckle-dusters, iron or brass instruments worn on the hands and used as a means of offence.
Knuckle under, to yield or submit.
Koniacker (Am.), a counterfeiter.
Kosher (Heb., right, from yashar to be right), pure, according to the Jewish ordinances. Thus "Kosher meat" is meat killed and prepared by Jews after the Jewish manner, and so fit to be eaten by Jews.
Kotoo or Kotow, to bow down to, to cringe or flatter. From the Chinese ceremony where those who approach the Emperor do so on their hands and knees.
Kudos (from the Greek), honor, praise, reputation.
Ku-Klux-Klan, a secret society in the Southern States, now extinct.
Kye (Scotch), cattle.Kick (Eng.), a pocket, purse, or pocket-book.
Source: American Slang Dictionary ©1891