Killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIRs) on NK cells have been linked to a wide spectrum of health conditions such as chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, pregnancy complications, cancers, and transplant failures. A small subset of effector memory T cells also expresses KIRs. In this study, we use modern analytic tools including genome-wide and multiplex molecular, phenotypic, and functional assays to characterize the KIR(+) T cells in human blood. We find that KIR(+) T cells primarily reside in the CD56(+) T population that is distinctively DNAM-1(high) with a genome-wide quiescent transcriptome, short telomere, and limited TCR excision circles. During CMV reactivation in bone marrow transplant recipients, KIR(+)CD56(+) T cells rapidly expanded in real-time but not KIR(+)CD56(-) T cells or KIR(+) NK cells. In CMV(+) asymptomatic donors, as much as 50% of CD56(+) T cells are KIR(+), and most are distinguishably KIR2DL2/3(+)NKG2C(+)CD57(+). Functionally, the KIR(+)CD56(+) T cell subset lyses cancer cells and CMVpp65-pulsed target cells in a dual KIR-dependent and TCR-dependent manner. Analysis of metabolic transcriptome confirms the immunological memory status of KIR(+)CD56(+) T cells in contrast to KIR(-)CD56(+) T cells that are more active in energy metabolism and effector differentiation. KIR(-)CD56(+) T cells have >25-fold higher level of expression of RORC than the KIR(+) counterpart and are a previously unknown producer of IL-13 rather than IL-17 in multiplex cytokine arrays. Our data provide fundamental insights into KIR(+) T cells biologically and clinically.