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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Kythe \Kythe\, Kithe \Kithe\ (k[imac][th]), v. t. [imp. Kydde, Kidde (k[i^]d"de); p. p. Kythed, Kid; p. pr. & vb. n. Kything.] [OE. kythen, kithen, cu[eth]en, to make known, AS. c[=y][eth]an, fr. c[=u][eth] known. [root]45. See Uncouth, Can to be able, and cf. Kith.] To make known; to manifest; to show; to declare. [Obs. or Scot.]

For gentle hearte kytheth gentilesse.


n. The spiritual process of focusing on one's shared connection with a loved one. vb. (present participle of kythe English)


Kything is derived from the Old English kythe, cýðe; a word known from both The Vespasian Psalter (c.825) and the West Saxon Gospels (c.1025). Meaning "to announce, proclaim, declare, tell, to make known in words, to manifest, to make visible", it survived as the Scottish dialect word kythe.

The author Madeleine L'Engle used the word kythe to describe a fictional type of communication, in a sense like telepathy, found in several of the books in her Time Quartet. L'Engle reportedly discovered the term in "an old Scottish dictionary" belonging to her grandfather.

In the Time Quartet books Kything is a sort of wordless, mind-to-mind communication in which one person, in essence, almost becomes another, seeing through their eyes and feeling through their senses.

In such a frame of mind, the two people intuitively know the meaning of what the other is telling them, disregarding such things as words or pictures. The idea may be based on the concept of Oneness, which states that all that exists, is one in its source and end. Apparently, recollection and assertion of that concept puts a person "in Kythe" with that which they are concentrating on.

Kything is portrayed as a way to be present with others without regard to space, time, or relative size. Through kything, humans can be together inside a subcellular mitochondrion, as seen in A Wind in the Door, or in communication despite being centuries apart, as seen in A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

Characters depicted as kything include Charles Wallace Murry (for whom it comes naturally), Meg Murry and Calvin O'Keefe. Meg and Calvin share a particular bond with each other, part of their growing relationship which eventually leads to marriage. Meg also spends much of A Swiftly Tilting Planet kything with her brother, Charles Wallace, thus experiencing vicariously his travels in time while supporting his efforts with research and prayer.

Usage examples of "kything".

Nevertheless, her mind registered all that she saw and it was there, stored, available to the kything of the cherubim.

She saw with a flash of intuition that her kything was like a small child’s trying to pick out a melody on the piano with one finger, as against the harmony of a full orchestra, like the cherubic language.

The cherubim moved lightly, swiftly within her, and his kything moved through and beyond her senses to an awareness she had never known before.

She became one with the kything, Deepened creatures moving in the intricate pattern of song, of the loveliness of rhythm, of joy.

Muddied thoughts which could hardly qualify as kything moved about her like sluggish water, and yet she understood that Mr.

He was not kything in words now, but in great waves of courage, of strength, flowing over and through her.

The force with which she had been thrown was so fierce that her kything was completely blacked out.

A faint twin-gling came from them, but now he was kything, his young greenery moving rhythmically, his delicate new needles and leaves and blades shimmering with the rhythm of Senex, of the singing farae, of Yadah.

Now she was kything Calvin, not red hair, or freckles, or eager blue eyes, or the glowing smile.

When they had left the house behind them, he said, “It’s funny to talk instead of kything, isn’t it?

Proginoskes's kything was so gentle that it undercut i the storm of Echthroi.