Kite as in a flying paper or fabric kite attached to a string and flown from the ground gets its name from the bird of prey of the same name and dates from the mid-17th century. Before that, from 1553, according to the OED, it was used figuratively to describe a person who preys upon others, a swindler, or sharper. The bird of prey typically hovers above its prey and it is this sense of hovering that developed into a slang word, kite, meaning a promissory note or cheque, particularly one that was worthless. This slang usage dates from 1805. Today kiting means writing cheques knowing that they are going to bounce. See also Fly a kite.