KIN (0. E. cyn, a word represented in nearly all Teutonic languages, cf. Du. kunne, Dan. and Swed. kon, Goth kuni, tribe; the Teutonic base is kunya; the equivalent Aryan root gan- to beget, produce, is seen in Gr. ytvos, Lat. genus, cf. "kind"), a collective word for persons related by blood, as descended from a common ancestor. In law, the term " next of kin " is applied to the person or persons who, as being in the nearest degree of blood relationship to a person dying intestate, share according to degree in his personal estate (see INTESTACY, and INHERITANCE). " Kin " is frequently associated with " kith " in the phrase " kith and kin," now used as an emphasized form of " kin " for family relatives. It properly means one's " country and kin," or one's " friends and kin." Kith (O.E. cyftfte and cy5, native land, acquaintances) comes from the stem of cunnan, to know, and thus means the land or people one knows familiarly.
The suffix -kin, chiefly surviving in English surnames, seems to have been early used as a diminutive ending to certain Christian names in Flanders and Holland. The termination is represented by the diminutive -chen in German, as in Kindchen, Hiiuschen, etc. Many English words, such as " pumpkin," " firkin," seem to have no diminutive significance, and may have been assimilated from earlier forms, e.g. " pumpkin " from " pumpion."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)