skit·​tish | \ ˈski-tish How to pronounce skittish (audio) \

Definition of skittish

1a : lively or frisky in action : capricious
2 : easily frightened : restive a skittish horse
3a : coy, bashful
b : marked by extreme caution : wary skittish investors

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Other Words from skittish

skittishly adverb
skittishness noun

Examples of skittish in a Sentence

We've been skittish about taking on such a large mortgage. the skittish colt leapt up when we approached
Recent Examples on the Web The Hunt made some executives at Universal skittish back in May 2018, when film chief Donna Langley acquired the script and fast-tracked it at a modest $18 million budget. Kim Masters, The Hollywood Reporter, "Ads Pulled for Gory Universal Thriller 'The Hunt' in Wake of Mass Shootings (Exclusive)," 7 Aug. 2019 His timing was odd to say the least — the financial crisis had made investors skittish, and the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler did not bode well for an automotive start-up. Nelson D. Schwartz, New York Times, "Meet the Man Quietly Building the Tesla of Trucks, With Jeff Bezos Aboard," 2 July 2019 The rebels’ disunity made Western support skittish. Nabih Bulos,, "Syrian rebel leader’s death spurs debate about his legacy," 11 June 2019 Agnew muffed a punt that the Cardinals recovered inside the 10-yard line in the first half and looked skittish on several other return opportunities. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions stock watch: T.J. Hockenson shines, run game sputters," 9 Sep. 2019 But for the time being, a suddenly skittish Chinese consumer apparently isn't willing to spend to improve their smiles — and that's causing a lot of frowns for Align's investors on Wall Street. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "China is hurting the braces market. Align Technology's stock plunges more than 25%," 25 July 2019 The Andrew Luck retirement news came out during the draft, so people were skittish on T.Y. Hilton, so $15 for him seemed great. Si Fantasy Staff,, "Fantasy Football 2019: Auction League Mock Draft," 30 Aug. 2019 Whole stretches crackle with sputtering rhythms and skittish riffs. New York Times, "A Soldier’s Racially Charged Suicide Becomes a Powerful Opera," 13 June 2018 Bitcoin provided a haven for skittish investors, rising 14%. Alan Murray, Fortune, "The Recession Watch Is Back On: CEO Daily," 6 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'skittish.' 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 skittish

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for skittish

Middle English, from skit- (probably from Old Norse skyt-) + -ish

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Statistics for skittish

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for skittish

The first known use of skittish was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for skittish


How to pronounce skittish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of skittish

of an animal : easily frightened or excited
: nervous or fearful about doing something
chiefly US : tending to change often : not dependable or stable


skit·​tish | \ ˈski-tish How to pronounce skittish (audio) \

Kids Definition of skittish

: easily frightened a skittish horse

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Comments on skittish

What made you want to look up skittish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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