skittish

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj skittish unpredictably excitable (especially of horses)
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In Pennsylvania: "Any motorist who sights a team of horses coming toward him must pull well off the road, cover his car with a blanket or canvas that blends with the countryside, and let the horses pass. If the horses appear skittish, the motorist must take his car apart piece by piece, and hide it under the nearest bushes."
    • Skittish Easily frightened; timorous; shy; untrustworthy; as, a skittish colt. "A restiff, skittish jade."
    • Skittish Wanton; restive; freakish; volatile; changeable; fickle. "Skittish Fortune's hall."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • skittish Easily frightened; disposed to start, jump, or run, as if from fright.
    • skittish Hence Shy; avoiding familiarity or intercourse; timid; retiring; coy.
    • skittish Changeable; volatile; fickle: inconstant; capricious.
    • skittish Deceitful; tricky; deceptive.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Skittish skit′ish unsteady, light-headed, easily frightened: hasty, volatile, changeable: wanton
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
See Skit (v. t.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Skite.

Usage

In literature:

Then he's more or less of a skittish party, believe me!
"Torchy, Private Sec." by Sewell Ford
Miss Hildreth's horse is skittish on ferries.
"Betty Wales Senior" by Margaret Warde
But the nose-rope makes the bullocks skittish.
"The Little Clay Cart" by (Attributed To) King Shudraka
Edna would get fat and rosy, and you and Mrs Freer would be quite young and skittish by the time you got home!
"Sisters Three" by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
He'll have had such a rest that he'll be quite skittish.
"Burr Junior" by G. Manville Fenn
Finally she got skittish about it.
"Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Arkansas Narratives, Part 4" by Work Projects Administration
And I don't count none the less on you for acting skittish about 'em.
"Patty's Social Season" by Carolyn Wells
A kitten might be too wild and skittish.
"Tom, The Bootblack" by Horatio Alger
Dis make Brer Fox feel mighty skittish.
"Nights With Uncle Remus" by Joel Chandler Harris
Hold the horse, will yer, he's a bit skittish.
"The Ocean Wireless Boys And The Naval Code" by John Henry Goldfrap, AKA Captain Wilbur Lawton
Awful skittish at everything they see, particularly women-folks.
"When Life Was Young" by C. A. Stephens
Is he skittish of the water?
"Caesar Rodney's Ride" by Henry Fisk Carlton
They had to keep touching and reassuring their mounts which were growing skittish and restless.
"Deathworld" by Harry Harrison
Even at that, I felt a little skittish when I went up for my exam.
"Bert Wilson on the Gridiron" by J. W. Duffield
Father is still skittish.
"A Son of the Middle Border" by Hamlin Garland
I should have chosen a more secluded nook to say this in, but you're skittish, as I have learned to my cost, and likely to bolt.
"The Faith Healer" by William Vaughn Moody
Now and then her skittishness gave him an opportunity of saying a word or two, to which Cyril replied in monosyllables.
"Lover or Friend" by Rosa Nouchette Carey
Her skittish advances had been taken seriously by Yossel.
"Ghetto Comedies" by Israel Zangwill
Fortunately, she doesn't know the exact extent of my knowledge of her skittish indiscretions.
"The White Lie" by William Le Queux
It was a quotation from Jim Pinkerton, and seemed to me agreeably skittish.
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 25 (of 25)" by Robert Louis Stevenson
***

In poetry:

The tom cat’s gone out with the tabby next door
He was feeling a little bit skittish
And the poor old poll parrot keeps stroking his beak
And screaming, “My Gawd, is it British?”
"Father Come Home" by Billy Bennett

In news:

Creamer 's skittishness was evident from the start as she missed a 5-footer for birdie at the first.
Romney skittish when it comes to horse ballet questions.
Some Republicans still skittish about Romney.
Greenberg says youth not an excuse for Virginia Tech's skittish ACC start.
Esiason calls Mark Sanchez ' skittish '.
Costco Seen Gaining Holiday Sales as Shoppers Skittish : Retail.
Patriots QB Tom Brady looks ' skittish, terrified' under relentless pressure from Jets.
Why Are Chuck, Hillary Skittish on the Topic.
Chip Vendors Skittish About Potential Industry Bubble.
The dog looks like a young adult/puppy, and is skittish from wandering around.
But skittish investors overlooked Coach's overseas business.
Doctors in Canada are so skittish about the medical use of marijuana that a third of MDs who have been asked to endorse a patient's access to the drug never agree to it, a Canadian Medical Association survey suggests.
Looking healthier but still skittish from their wild upbringing, three orphaned grizzly bears that took part in a fatal campground rampage outside Yellowstone National Park made their public debut Friday at a Montana zoo.
Jason Babin, for example, has never been more skittish about a subject in his two years in Philadelphia.
Risky Business There are three reasons Americans are skittish about nuclear power – Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now, Fukushima Daiichi.
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