cal·​low | \ ˈka-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce callow (audio) \

Definition of callow

: lacking adult sophistication : immature callow youth callow newcomers

Other Words from callow

callowness \ ˈka-​lō-​nəs How to pronounce callow (audio) , -​lə-​nəs \ noun

The Connection Between Callow and Baldness

You might not expect a relationship between the word callow and baldness, but that connection does in fact exist. Callow comes from calu, a word that meant "bald" in Middle English and Old English. By the 17th century, callow had come to mean "without feathers" and was applied to young birds not yet ready for flight. The term was also used for those who hadn't yet spread their wings in a figurative sense. Callow continues to mean "inexperienced" or "unsophisticated" today.

Examples of callow in a Sentence

a story about a callow youth who learns the value of hard work and self-reliance
Recent Examples on the Web There’s little overt menace to this Paul, who mostly registers as a sincere, sensitive, if callow hero-in-the-making. New York Times, 20 Oct. 2021 Paul—here played by Timothée Chalamet, who actually looks like a teenager—is callow, stubborn, argumentative, and possessed of a superficial idealism that can easily slide into cynicism. David Klion, The New Republic, 14 Oct. 2021 Over the course of 60 minutes, a callow secondary, two transfers at tackle and some veterans in new positions became a unit that looked at times formidable and generally capable. Edgar Thompson,, 21 Sep. 2021 The Sox had to claim players off waivers and promote callow prospects to fill the holes., 25 Sep. 2021 One of my callow missteps was in planting a formal hedge as the pretentious backbone of my first garden. Washington Post, 23 June 2021 Deacon hoped this time his talented yet callow squad would be able to play to its potential and avoid too many final-round dramatics. Edgar Thompson,, 29 May 2021 This was not a callow performer thrown into a TV starring role, as so often has happened in the medium's history. Bill Carter For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 15 May 2021 There was therefore something reassuring about Kaluuya's gaffe, which will in future days likely be remembered as charming -- in a callow way. Gene Seymour, CNN, 26 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'callow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of callow

1580, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for callow

Middle English calu bald, from Old English; akin to Old High German kalo bald, Old Church Slavonic golŭ bare

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Last Updated

2 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Callow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for callow



English Language Learners Definition of callow

used to describe a young person who does not have much experience and does not know how to behave the way adults behave

More from Merriam-Webster on callow

Nglish: Translation of callow for Spanish Speakers


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