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[noun kur-vit; verb ker-vet, kur-vit] /noun ˈkɜr vɪt; verb kərˈvɛt, ˈkɜr vɪt/
Dressage. a leap of a horse from a rearing position, in which it springs up with the hind legs outstretched as the forelegs descend.
verb (used without object), curvetted or curveted, curvetting or curveting.
to leap in a curvet, as a horse; cause one's horse to do this.
to leap and frisk.
verb (used with object), curvetted or curveted, curvetting or curveting.
to cause to make a curvet.
Origin of curvet
1565-75; earlier curvetto < Italian corvetta < French courbette, equivalent to courb(er) to bend, curve (≪ Latin curvāre; cf. curve) + -ette -ette Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for curvet
Historical Examples
  • His eyes shone with pleasure, and he allowed his horse to curvet freely.

    Before the Dawn Joseph Alexander Altsheler
  • With a curvet the boat from the open rounds up at the ladder.

    Sea and Sardinia D. H. Lawrence
  • The others left at the post fret, and fidget, and curvet about.

  • The cavaliers compel their horses to prance and curvet as they go by some lady of especial favor.

    Life on a Mediaeval Barony William Stearns Davis
  • Next follows the curvet, which is performed by throwing the body suddenly backwards until the hands touch the ground.

    Acrobats and Mountebanks Hugues Le Roux
  • The horses of his body-guard began to paw and curvet to free their feet as the loose reins tightened on their necks.

    The White Blackbird Hudson Douglas
  • They could see him shaking hands, then doing a curvet or so to show off his newly borrowed mount.

    The Covered Wagon Emerson Hough
  • To display his skill before the ladies, he set spurs to his horse, making it bound and curvet "as valiantly as any man could do."

  • So into the court-yard of the inn he rode, with a curvet and a prance, and a despotic shout for the ostler.

    Dust Julian Hawthorne
  • His gentle little mare heard it, though, and began to curvet and prance.

    Short Sixes H. C. Bunner
British Dictionary definitions for curvet


(dressage) a low leap with all four feet off the ground
verb -vets, -vetting, -vetted, -vets, -veting, -veted
(dressage) to make or cause to make such a leap
(intransitive) to prance or frisk about
Word Origin
C16: from Old Italian corvetta, from Old French courbette, from courber to bend, from Latin curvāre
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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