skittish

adjective

skit·​tish ˈski-tish How to pronounce skittish (audio)
1
a
: lively or frisky in action : capricious
2
: easily frightened : restive
a skittish horse
3
a
b
: marked by extreme caution : wary
skittish investors
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 That doesn't deliver the magic of stalking a skittish deer (or massive troll) in Valheim's meadows, and hoping that your first shot is aimed true. Chris Stobing, PCMAG, 5 Feb. 2024 Some observers speculate that Mr. Johnson’s comparatively skittish posture stems from his inexperience in his new post. Annie Karni, New York Times, 2 Feb. 2024 This sweet story will soothe skittish kids and give them tools to feel calm and safer in the night. Wendy Dunn, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 31 Jan. 2024 That may appeal to cats that are too large or too skittish in a closed design. Condé Nast, WIRED, 9 Jan. 2024 While the strong numbers may allay the fears of some skittish donors and offer some short-term confidence that Haley's operation has the cash to keep going, the campaign is nonetheless being hit with fresh questions about the viability of her path to the Republican nomination. Soo Rin Kim, ABC News, 25 Jan. 2024 The asset-management industry has been buffeted over the past two years, first by declines in stock and bond markets in 2022 and then by investors who grew skittish over higher interest rates. Silla Brush, Fortune, 9 Jan. 2024 This arbitrary tendency to make up policy on the fly is part of the reason why advertisers are rightly so skittish, per the MMFA chairman. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 21 Nov. 2023 Some animals are understandably skittish around scientists and their strange equipment, which can make testing their intelligence difficult. Darren Incorvaia, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'skittish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near skittish

Cite this Entry

“Skittish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/skittish. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

skittish

adjective
skit·​tish ˈskit-ish How to pronounce skittish (audio)
1
: lively or frisky in action
2
: easily frightened : restive
a skittish horse
3
skittishly adverb
skittishness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on skittish

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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