Kegel (plural Kegels)
- Alternative letter-case form of
From an Old High German chegil, kegil (“peg”), especially pegs for a tent (zeltchegil) or similar. Middle High German kegel means “peg or pin used for a game” (such as skittles), but regional use from the 14th century onward also preserve a more general meaning of “peg, cudgel”.
No cognates of Kegel are known outside of German (other than loans from German in Dutch, Scandinavian as well as Baltic and Slavic languages). French quille seems to be a reflex of an Old Frankish form of the word. Proto-Slavic *žezlъ (“stick, staff, rod”) has diverse proposed origins. The German word Keil (“wedge”) is closely related, compared by Grimm to the relationship of Latin cuneus (“wedge”) with cōnus (“cone”). In some dialects, Keil was used as the term for both “wedge” and “bowling pin”.
Also closely related is Kugel (“ball, sphere”). All these terms developed in context of the game of skittles. The relation of Keil to Kegel (both terms for the pin) was the same as that of Kaule to Kugel (both terms for the ball; the latter remained dialectal, while Kugel became the generic term for "sphere").
Kegel m (genitive Kegels, plural Kegel)
- skittle, ninepin, bowling pin; pin [from 13th c.]
- (by extension) any heap or peak of conical or pyramidal shape, especially of feces, hay, brushwood, of mountains and of the tip of a helmet [from 14th c.]
- (mathematics) cone [from 18th c.]
- (obsolete) ruffian, bastard (illegitimate son)