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 But investors whose businesses have flourished under Abiy are becoming skittish. Samuel Gebre,, "From Nobel Peace Prize to Uproar in Less Than One Year," 24 Sep. 2020 Another alpaca -- Fuzzy Charlie -- was found unhurt though wide-eyed and skittish. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Brown bear breaks into Alaska Zoo, kills alpaca named Caesar," 23 Sep. 2020 Allaire, though, says the letter will provide assurance to other banks—some of whom remain skittish about cryptocurrency ventures. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Feds’ ‘stablecoin’ letter may boost crypto ambitions of Facebook, Square," 22 Sep. 2020 Hacker continues to document protests but has become more skittish. Washington Post, "Swept up in the federal response to Portland protests: ‘I didn’t know if I was going to be seen again’," 10 Sep. 2020 The series of Barometer polls have shown that Americans and businesses remain skittish about a full reopening of the economy. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "People stink: Americans would return to normal if everyone followed rules," 3 Sep. 2020 Following Baffert’s instructions, Velazquez used a left-handed whip in the stretch to keep the skittish Authentic’s mind on business. Beth Harris,, "Authentic upsets favorite Tiz the Law to win the Kentucky Derby and give trainer Bob Baffert his record-tying 6th win," 6 Sep. 2020 The other narrative continued in vivid imagery the following week, when San Francisco’s ferocious pass rush overwhelmed the Vikings’ line and turned Cousins skittish. Star Tribune, "Brightest spotlight continues to shine on Kirk Cousins as he readies for Year 3," 5 Sep. 2020 Authentic — the skittish horse who races with ear plugs and supposedly was distance-challenged — silenced the doubters with a front-running victory in the 146th and most peculiar running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Authentic wins the 2020 Kentucky Derby ahead of favorite Tiz the Law," 5 Sep. 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

27 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Skittish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 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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