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[I'm not really on a Sailor Moon kick. ^_^] Still, the use of the word kick to denote the feeling of a "current or temporary pleasure" is pretty strange, isn't it? How did it evolve from its original root, which I presume is the sense of striking something with the foot, to that meaning? My question is: Can anyone draw a plausible pathway from the most original meaning to this colloquial meaning of kick?

EDIT: Er, my example sentence didn't say, I get a kick out of Sailor Moon. It said, I'm on a Sailor Moon kick. I think these senses are very distinguishable, and thus the answers I've received thus far strike me as wrong.

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If you think very hard, you can catch a glimpse of this as being a metaphor. – rberaldo May 12 '11 at 15:03
Well there is this manga returned by google. – Alain Pannetier Φ May 12 '11 at 15:52
To address your edit: I think it's a fairly straightforward transformation from "I get a kick out of X" to "I am on an X kick". Similar to "I get high on X" to "I am on an X high", or "I am hiking up the Nile" to "I am on a Nile hike". – Wayne May 12 '11 at 16:53
You wrote "current or temporary pleasure", rather than a current or temporary period of sustained activity or interest, which I think is what you mean. To me that's the main confusing thing about this question. – Jason Orendorff May 13 '11 at 0:23
@Jason Orendorff Hm, I see where the confusion might have come from. I was using this perhaps dated definition of pleasure, cribbed from The Free Dictionary: "A source of enjoyment or delight"...that's why I used the article 'a', because this pleasure is countable. – Uticensis May 13 '11 at 6:57
up vote 5 down vote accepted

There's a reasonable progression from "getting a kick out of something" to "being on a Sailor Moon kick." This is through references to alcohol or drugs; here being on a kick could mean an extended period of using alcohol or drugs.

From James Jones' Here to Eternity (1951):

He had seen members of the Canned Heat Brigade stay on a kick like this for years. ... And they didnt even have whiskey; all they had had was canned heat from Woolworth's that they had to strain the alcohol out of the paraffin through a handkerchief and then strain the alky through a piece of stale bread.

This reference is right around the time when "being on an xxxxx kick" starts showing up in Google books searches.

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+1, in my dialect it definitely means an extended period of heightened interest/use/etc. – Matthew Read May 12 '11 at 20:23


Meaning "surge or fit of pleasure" (often as kicks) is from 1941; originally lit., "stimulation from liquor or drugs" (1844).

that aside, I would expect you to be on "A Sailor moon high" and not on a kick

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I don't understand the high remark. "A Sailor Moon kick" seems more likely to me. – Jason Orendorff May 12 '11 at 20:21
That doesn't clarify it to me, I'm afraid... that search gives only 6 results, not counting this page; google.com/search?q="on+a+Sailor+Moon+kick" gives only 28 (probably not a statistically significant difference). – Jason Orendorff May 12 '11 at 20:37
Being on an xxx high sounds to me much more idiomatically correct than being on an xxx kick. I get a kick out of something that give me a high. When I get high on xxx I am on an xxx high. – mplungjan May 12 '11 at 20:41
google.com/… – mplungjan May 12 '11 at 20:44

When someone says he or she gets a 'kick' from doing something, it is due to the extreme pleasure they get from the act, and as a result their body releases a bit of adrenaline into their system and they experience a kick from the extra energy.

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