(especially of horses) having patches of brown and white.


a skewbald horse or pony.

Origin of skewbald

First recorded in 1645–55; skew + (pie)bald Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skewbald

Historical Examples of skewbald

  • You're quite sure, Tommy, that—that stuff was—was only the skewbald's ear?'

    Life's Handicap

    Rudyard Kipling

British Dictionary definitions for skewbald



marked or spotted in white and any colour except black


a horse with this marking

Word Origin for skewbald

C17: see skew, piebald
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 skewbald

1650s, "having white and brown (or some other color) patches, spotted in an irregular manner" (used especially of horses), from skued "skewbald" (mid-15c.), of unknown origin, + bald "having white patches" (see bald). First element said to be unconnected with skew (v.) (but Klein's sources say it is); OED suggests perhaps from Old French escu "shield," but also notes a close resemblance in form and sense with Icelandic skjottr, "the history of which is equally obscure." Watkins says it is Scandinavian and akin to Old Norse sky "cloud" on the resemblance of the markings to cloud cover.

When the white is mixed with black it is called 'pie-bald,' with bay the name of 'skew-bald' is given to it. ["Youatt's 'The Horse,' " 1866]

As a noun meaning "skewbald horse" from 1863.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper