Definition of skittish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈskidiSH/


1(Of an animal, especially of a horse) excitable or 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.
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.



Pronunciation: /ˈskidiSHlē/
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.


Pronunciation: /ˈskidiSHnəs/
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.


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

Words that rhyme with skittish

British, twittish

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: skit·tish

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