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I've used "kinda" as a word basically meaning "kind of" just run together. I wouldn't use it formally, but I noticed that Microsoft Word's spellchecker says that it isn't a word. I searched some and it seems that I'm not the only one who uses it, but it doesn't seem to be too popular. So is it an actual word? How accepted is it?

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9  
Kinda is a kinda baboon. –  nohat Sep 29 '10 at 17:55
    
Yes, I noticed that, thank you. :P –  Ullallulloo Sep 29 '10 at 18:05
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Makes me think of the mythical alot :) hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/… –  Kosmonaut Sep 29 '10 at 20:07
16  
The obvious answer here of course is "Well, kinda..." –  mickeyf Sep 30 '10 at 3:20
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What kinda question is that! –  Armstrongest Sep 30 '10 at 18:48
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4 Answers 4

up vote 17 down vote accepted

As you said, it means "kind of". It's very informal and you won't find it in dictionaries. In formal contexts, you can use "rather" with the same meaning, e.g.:

It was rather cold.

Note:

"kind of" is in the Merriam-Webster dictionary (see below). "Kinda" is not.

Definition:

1: to a moderate degree

2: in a way that approximates : more or less

Synonyms:

enough, kindly [chiefly Southern], fairly, like, moderately, more or less, pretty, quite, rather, relatively, something, somewhat, sort of

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Yes, of course kinda is a real word. The Dictionary itself even says so. –  tchrist Feb 3 '12 at 22:51
    
Rather, to me, seems like the opposite of kind of. Rather means "to a large degree", while kind of means "somewhat". –  kotekzot Apr 13 '12 at 20:46
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The NOAD reports that kinda is an informal contraction of kind of; it was first used in the early 20th century, and it was originally an American English alternation.

Kind of is an informal phrase for rather.

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2  
Actually, 'kinda' also occurs for a more literal "kind of", eg "He was some kinda nut!" –  Colin Fine Oct 1 '10 at 15:32
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Wiktionary contains such words.

The entry for kinda (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kinda) includes:

kinda

  1. (colloquial) kind of

    I kinda hafta do this right now.

    That's kinda funny.

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So do real dictionaries. –  tchrist Feb 3 '12 at 22:54
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The Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) has 1650 incidences of kinda:

TOTAL SPOKEN FICTION MAGAZINE NEWSPAPER ACADEMIC
1650  172    1023    244      169       42

It is used overwhelmingly in fiction, and the few examples in newspapers and academic texts are almost exclusively in quotations of spoken English.

So, as the other answers have said, kinda is a pretty informal word, not used in formal texts except in quotations. I personally would only use the word in very informal situations. Its 1650 incidences in COCA are comparable to other adverbs, such as besides (1720), tight (1642), and regardless (1607). As to whether or not it is an “actual” word, I think this is pretty clear evidence that it is. As for its acceptability, it is listed in some dictionaries, such as the Random House, but not in the notoriously permissive Merriam-Webster.

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It's also in Wordnet. –  Matthew Flaschen May 18 '11 at 19:22
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