apt to start or shy: a skittish horse.
restlessly or excessively lively: a skittish mood.
fickle; uncertain.
shy; coy.

Nearby words

  1. skit,
  2. skitch,
  3. skite,
  4. skitter,
  5. skittery,
  6. skittishly,
  7. skittle,
  8. skittle out,
  9. skittles,
  10. skive

Origin of skittish

1375–1425; late Middle English, perhaps derivative of the Scand source of skite1; see -ish1

Related formsskit·tish·ly, adverbskit·tish·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skittish

British Dictionary definitions for skittish



playful, lively, or frivolous
difficult to handle or predict
rare coy
Derived Formsskittishly, adverbskittishness, noun

Word Origin for skittish

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

Word Origin and History for skittish



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