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[skwee-mish] /ˈskwi mɪʃ/
fastidious or dainty.
easily shocked by anything slightly immodest; prudish.
excessively particular or scrupulous as to the moral aspect of things.
easily nauseated or disgusted:
to get squeamish at the sight of blood.
Origin of squeamish
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English squemish, alteration (conformed to -ish1) of squemes, squaymes, alteration of squaymous < Anglo-French escoymous; ulterior origin uncertain
Related forms
squeamishly, adverb
squeamishness, noun
oversqueamish, adjective
oversqueamishly, adverb
oversqueamishness, noun
unsqueamish, adjective
unsqueamishly, adverb
unsqueamishness, noun
1. modest. 3. finical, finicky, delicate, exacting.
1–3. bold. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for squeamish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I shan't be squeamish about asking when there's anything I really want done.

    Faith Gartney's Girlhood Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney
  • And so squeamish as he is, and so particular about the cider!

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • But Jack's as squeamish of bloodshed as young Miss that cries at her cut finger.

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • Clavering isn't the man to be squeamish about hanging a rebel.

    The Northern Iron George A. Birmingham
  • I am no squeamish man, or I should have passed a wretched life.

    The Cockaynes in Paris Blanchard Jerrold
British Dictionary definitions for squeamish


easily sickened or nauseated, as by the sight of blood
easily shocked; fastidious or prudish
easily frightened: squeamish about spiders
Derived Forms
squeamishly, adverb
squeamishness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Anglo-French escoymous, of unknown origin
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 squeamish

mid-15c., variant of squoymous "disdainful, fastidious" (c.1300), from Anglo-French *escoymous, which is of unknown origin.

He was somdel squaymous
Of fartyng, and of speche daungerous
[Chaucer, "Miller's Tale," c.1386]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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