Today, we associate the name Kit Kat with a kind of chocolate, but back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the term was used for a kind of mutton pie served at meetings of the Kit-Cat Club, a literary and political Whig establishment in London. Then, in 1911, the Rowntree's candymaking business copyrighted the names Kit Kat and Kit Cat, presumably a reference to the club (although there are no official records of why these were chosen). Diving into this further, it seems that the club was named after a person called Christopher Catling and the rights to the brand were acquired by Nestlé in 1988. Since then, popularity has increased, with usage peaking in the year 2016 and searches for the phrase spiking in fall of 2013 because KitKat was used as the nickname for an Android update.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.