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 Christian Bishop was always a little skittish about the pool. Jacob Beltran,, "Family shares story of boy’s drowning in hopes of helping others," 9 July 2020 Two new tackles With Chris Hubbard and Greg Robinson at tackle last season, Mayfield was skittish and often ran right into trouble. cleveland, "Will Baker Mayfield regain his accuracy? Cleveland Browns 20 questions for ‘20," 8 July 2020 In Illinois, face-covering is required in places where maintaining distance is difficult. DeWine has been firm in his recommendation that Ohioans wear masks, but a bit skittish to get bossy about it. Amber Hunt, The Enquirer, "Masks, somehow, have become a point of contention for some," 27 June 2020 One aquarium in Japan asked people to participate in video calls with its garden eels in response to worries that the animals would become accustomed to the absence of humans and be skittish when visitors returned. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "Zoos Find Creative Ways to Cope with Coronavirus Lockdowns," 19 June 2020 The past 20 years have given Americans good reason to be skittish about national crises as pretexts for expanding the surveillance state. Gideon Lewis-kraus, Wired, "How to Make Government Trustworthy Again," 18 June 2020 Time will tell if the growth continues or if shareholders will again get skittish. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple is now worth 1.5 trillion dollars," 10 June 2020 Knowing their prey was rightfully skittish, the marshals laid a trap. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "History of the ‘Phantom Swede’ and the origin of Bootlegger Cove’s name," 1 June 2020 Quintus believes people were saving their money, too skittish to spend. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "Face mask sales helps Jazzy June Bug, a North Royalton boutique, survive in the COVID-19 era," 1 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for skittish

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for skittish

Last Updated

17 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Skittish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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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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