etymology: kift
Thread poster: yne

Local time: 19:27
German to English
+ ...
Oct 15, 2007

Hi everyone,

I am trying to do some research into the South West Wales (English) dialect word "kift". The word means awkward/ clumsy.

So far I have not had much luck. Perhaps some Welsh/ Flemish/ Frisian speakers out there could help me!

Thanks in advance.


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:27
English to Dutch
+ ...
Funny, it's a Dutch word too Oct 15, 2007

In Dutch, when someone has done something good, or has been given something beautiful and someone else is making nasty comments about it, people often say: O, that's just the kift. When they're really jealous or envious about somebody else's good fortune.

There's also the verb 'kiften' - arguing, bickering.

Funny topic, I'm curious to see other responses!


Local time: 19:27
German to English
+ ...
Flemish? Oct 15, 2007

Oh thank you Margreet, they are very possibly related, that may make sense!

We use it to talk mainly about someone's behaviour, that we think is clumsy/ silly: "that's a bit kift". The area (South Pembrokeshire) was settled by Flemish in around the 12th century, so maybe it came from Dutch originally.

Fascinating stuff!

[Edited at 2007-10-15 19:04]


Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:27
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
German? Oct 16, 2007

According to

Via het Jiddisch zijn ook Duitse woorden binnengeslopen: de kift komt van het Duitse Gift, afgunst,...

Via the Jewish language, German words have crept in: the Kift comes from the German Gift (= envy, jeaslousy, poison)..

see also

Just Guessing...



Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
could this be related? Oct 17, 2007

Just remembered this term, it looks like it might be related:

cack-handed adjective
Chiefly British.

2.Awkward; clumsy.

[Perhaps from Old Norse keikr, bent backwards; akin to Danish keite, left-handed.]

Excerpted from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language


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etymology: kift

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