Share this entry

skittish Line breaks: skit|tish
Pronunciation: /ˈskɪtɪʃ/

Definition of skittish in English:

adjective

1(Of an animal, especially a horse) nervous or excitable; easily scared: a skittish chestnut mare figurative skittish investors withdrew their money from equity markets
More example sentences
  • I think they're generally skittish and ill-tempered animals.
  • You haven't drunk in a month - no wonder you're skittish.
  • They are skittish and fearful of most people and talk to no one but each other.
Synonyms
restive, excitable, nervous, easily frightened;
skittery, jumpy, fidgety, highly strung
1.1(Of a person) playfully frivolous or unpredictable: my skittish and immature mother
More example sentences
  • The notion seems to be that the mere look, the urbanity, the smirking of blue staters appalls the skittish people of the heartland.
  • He has cast four relatively inexperienced actors who fatten up Reza's skinny and, at times, skittish characters.
  • We managed to pat them a little bit, but they were pretty skittish.
Synonyms

Derivatives

skittishly

1
Pronunciation: /ˈskɪtɪʃ(ə)li/
adverb
Example sentences
  • But most Democrats who are on the ballot in competitive races this year skittishly avoid such stark imagery.
  • In a clearing past a grove of olive trees, a snowy white lamb stands skittishly behind its grazing mother.
  • I was also delighted by the way that Anna of Little Red Boat skittishly bent the concept towards her own ends.

skittishness

2
Pronunciation: /ˈskɪtɪʃnəs/
noun
Example sentences
  • The skittishness of an airline executive about the possibility of behavioral profiling at American airports should be a thing of the past.
  • But the skittishness isn't just restricted to the backbench.
  • There could hardly be a greater contrast with this skittishness than the two photographs by Cindy Sherman which hang on a nearby wall.

Origin

Late Middle English: perhaps from the rare verb skit 'move lightly and rapidly'.

Words that rhyme with skittish

British, twittish

Definition of skittish in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources