Originally published November 2011
I like the word “kid.” I use it with my children (do you know how hard it was for me to write that sentence without using the word “kid”? LOL), I use it for jests. It’s a standard part of my vocabulary. But I’ll never forget the substitute teacher in high school who said something about how his children were not young goats,
so thank you not to use that word. And one of my critique partners recently caught me using it in the joking sense well before it would have been.
It seemed time to look it up. 😀
“Kid” entered English with the
meaning of “a young goat” round about 1200. It began being applied to
children in 1590, though it was still slang at that point. It was
accepted usage, however, by 1840 . . . and had in fact been a word used
to describe skillful young thieves for 30 years before that. (One I
didn’t know!)
The meaning of “playful tease”
is from 1839 (which proves that it was a well-accepted slang by then)
and comes from the idea of “making a kid of, treating as a child.”
Though those thieving youngsters used it to mean “coax, wheedle, hoax.”
So there you have it–a brief explanation of why we now kid our kids. 😉

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