callow

play
adjective cal·low \ ˈka-(ˌ)lō \

Definition of callow

:lacking adult sophistication :immature
  • callow youth
  • callow newcomers

callowness

play \ˈka-lō-nəs, -lə-nəs\ noun

callow was our Word of the Day on 05/03/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of callow in a Sentence

  1. a story about a callow youth who learns the value of hard work and self-reliance

Recent Examples of callow from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of callow

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


CALLOW Defined for English Language Learners

callow

play
adjective

Definition of callow for English Language Learners

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



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