What Does Kit Kat Stand For?

This is how Kit Kat bars got their iconic name.

Kit Kat, with its crispy wafer layers, smooth chocolate coating and unmistakable crunch, is a classic candy bar—top tier in most Halloween candy collections. You don’t need a holiday to snack on a Kit Kat, though; in the UK alone, people eat more than 1 billion Kit Kats each year. That’s a lot of chocolate bars!

This confection is enjoyed around the world, no doubt about it. The brand is always coming up with fresh takes on the original Kit Kat, too, like Pumpkin Pie and Mocha flavors. Because we enjoy this candy bar so much, we can’t help but wonder—what does Kit Kat stand for?

What People Think “Kit Kat” Stands For

Truth be told, there are many theories behind the Kit Kat bar’s name.

Some claim the treat is named after a club in England, called the Kit-Cat, where Sir Godfrey Kneller’s paintings of club members hung in the late 1600s and early 1700s. This club had low ceilings, so it could only accommodate paintings of a specific size, historically referred to as “kit-cat size.”

The term “kit-cat” or “kit-kat” was used elsewhere in the 17th and 18th century. It was also the name of a magazine in Pennsylvania, published by Keighton Bros. The print was “a weekly magazine for the home” and sold subscriptions for 50 cents.

Other Kit Kat fans speculate that the name is an acronym for “Keep In Touch, Kappa Alpha Theta.” The wife of Kit Kat inventor Joseph Rowntree was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, according to Mental Floss.

All kids of myths and legends about the Kit Kat name exist. But the question remains—what’s does Kit Kat stand for?

What Does It Really Mean?

According to Nestle, the company that produces our beloved Kit Kat bars, a confectioner named Joseph Rowntree officially coined the name and started selling the treat in 1935.

However, Nestle also says that the “name first appeared on a boxed assortment of chocolates that Rowntree’s made during the 1920s.” That name officially came from an 18th century Whig literary club titled after a man named Christopher Catling—or Kit Cat. It sounds like that might be the real origin of the Kit Kat name!

Already knew the history behind the Kit Kat bar? Put your brand knowledge to the test with this food slogan quiz.

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Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.