The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce

K

K is a consonant that we get from the Greeks, but it can be traced away back beyond them to the Cerathians, a small commercial nation inhabiting the peninsula of Smero. In their tongue it was called Klatch, which means "destroyed." The form of the letter was originally precisely that of our H, but the erudite Dr. Snedeker explains that it was altered to its present shape to commemorate the destruction of the great temple of Jarute by an earthquake, circa 730 B.C. This building was famous for the two lofty columns of its portico, one of which was broken in half by the catastrophe, the other remaining intact. As the earlier form of the letter is supposed to have been suggested by these pillars, so, it is thought by the great antiquary, its later was adopted as a simple and natural-- not to say touching-- means of keeping the calamity ever in the national memory. It is not known if the name of the letter was altered as an additional mnemonic, or if the name was always Klatch and the destruction one of nature's pums. As each theory seems probable enough, I see no objection to believing both-- and Dr. Snedeker arrayed himself on that side of the question.

KILL, v.t.
To create a vacancy without nominating a successor.

KILT, n.
A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.

KINDNESS, n.
A brief preface to ten volumes of exaction.

KING, n.
A male person commonly known in America as a "crowned head," although he never wears a crown and has usually no head to speak of.

KISS, n.
A word invented by the poets as a rhyme for "bliss." It is supposed to signify, in a general way, some kind of rite or ceremony appertaining to a good understanding; but the manner of its performance is unknown to this lexicographer.

KLEPTOMANIAC, n.
A rich thief.

KNIGHT, n.
Once a warrior gentle of birth,
Then a person of civic worth,
Now a fellow to move our mirth.
Warrior, person, and fellow-- no more:
We must knight our dogs to get any lower.
Brave Knights Kennelers then shall be,
Noble Knights of the Golden Flea,
Knights of the Order of St. Steboy,
Knights of St. Gorge and Sir Knights Jawy.
God speed the day when this knighting fad
Shall go to the dogs and the dogs go mad.

KORAN, n.
A book which the Mohammedans foolishly believe to have been written by divine inspiration, but which Christians know to be a wicked imposture, contradictory to the Holy Scriptures.