she never kindled


Senior Member
“She never kindled,” he said, bemused. “We went to a doctor, she and I, to see which of us was wrong. The doctor said neither one. Then, in ’60, there came your brother Fred.
Source: The Stand by Stephen King
Context: Fred Goldsmith is recounting to his daughter Fannie about his wife.

I understand that kindle in this sense mean to bear (young) or produce (offspring) which is a zoological term. I take it it means she never fell pregnant.

Is this sense of kindle common for people?

Thank you.
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I've never heard of it—but then, I don't live on a rabbit farm.
    The Oxford English Dictionary has it as both a transitive and intransitive verb:
    a. trans. Of a female animal (esp. a hare or rabbit): to bring forth or give birth to (young). Also fig.
    b. intr. Of a female hare or rabbit: to give birth.

    I suppose that "Also fig[urative]" frees it to refer also to humans.
    I won't quote the etymologies, but this word seems unrelated to the "kindle" that means to light a fire.