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skittish

[skit-ish] /ˈskɪt ɪʃ/
adjective
1.
apt to start or shy:
a skittish horse.
2.
restlessly or excessively lively:
a skittish mood.
3.
fickle; uncertain.
4.
shy; coy.
Origin
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English, perhaps derivative of the Scand source of skite1; see -ish1
Related forms
skittishly, adverb
skittishness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for skittish
  • They're too skittish from years of predation by the big cats.
  • Reduce the equities portion and increase the bond if you are skittish or near retirement.
  • Despite their strong handshakes and leadership training, businessmen are skittish creatures, easily demoralised and deterred.
  • While skittish on land, they will entertain me for hours underwater.
  • Still, the scientists were still skittish in the years after.
  • And to say our chickens are skittish is nothing short of an understatement.
  • But the system of checks and balances has been tightened, making lenders increasingly skittish.
  • And fund raisers at the meeting said donors are feeling less skittish than they were in the fall and early part of this year.
  • But for a party that has been so pathetically skittish and reactive, it is perhaps time to try something new.
  • Get up close to these normally skittish animals of the woods and plains.
British Dictionary definitions for skittish

skittish

/ˈskɪtɪʃ/
adjective
1.
playful, lively, or frivolous
2.
difficult to handle or predict
3.
(rare) coy
Derived Forms
skittishly, adverb
skittishness, noun
Word Origin
C15: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse skjōta to shoot; see -ish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for skittish
adj.

early 15c., "very lively, frivolous," perhaps from Scandinavian base *skyt- (stem of Old Norse skjota "to shoot, launch, move quickly"), from PIE root *skeud- "to shoot, to chase, to throw, to project" (see shoot (v.)). Sense of "shy, nervous, apt to run" first recorded c.1500, of horses. Related: Skittishly; skittishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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