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  1. immature or inexperienced: a callow youth.
  2. (of a young bird) featherless; unfledged.
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  1. a recently hatched worker ant.
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Origin of callow

before 1000; Middle English, Old English calu bald; cognate with Dutch kaal, German kahl bald, OCS golŭ bare
Related formscal·low·ness, noun

Synonyms for callow

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Antonyms for callow

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for callowness

Contemporary Examples of callowness

Historical Examples of callowness

British Dictionary definitions for callowness


  1. lacking experience of life; immature
  2. rare (of a young bird) unfledged and usually lacking feathers
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Derived Formscallowness, noun

Word Origin for callow

Old English calu; related to Old High German kalo, Old Slavonic golú bare, naked, Lithuanian galva head, Latin calvus bald


  1. Simon. born 1949, British actor and theatre director
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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

Word Origin and History for callowness



Old English calu "bare, bald," probably from West Germanic *kalwaz (cf. Middle Dutch calu, Dutch kaal, Old High German kalo, German Kahl), perhaps from Latin or Celtic. From young birds with no feathers, meaning extended to any young inexperienced thing or creature (1570s). Apparently not from Latin calvus "bald."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper