noun Chiefly British.

skittles, (used with a singular verb) ninepins in which a wooden ball or disk is used to knock down the pins.
one of the pins used in this game.

Origin of skittle

1625–35; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse skutill shuttle, arrow; Danish skyttel shuttle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skittle

Historical Examples of skittle

  • But the skittle players were in the majority though there was a keen opposition.

  • Take my blessing, and stand not on the order of your going to it,—but skittle!

    In the Onyx Lobby

    Carolyn Wells

  • Finally we went to a skittle ground, where we stayed for some time.

  • The murmur of voices thickened, and there was no rumbling in the skittle alley to interrupt it.

  • The taproom was built in the yard beside a skittle ground, and was approached through a long passage.

    The Man with the Book

    John Matthias Weylland

British Dictionary definitions for skittle



a wooden or plastic pin, typically widest just above the base
Also called (esp US): ninepins (plural; functioning as singular) a bowling game in which players knock over as many skittles as possible by rolling a wooden ball at them
beer and skittles (often used with a negative) informal an easy time; amusement

Word Origin for skittle

C17: of obscure origin; perhaps related to Swedish, Danish skyttel shuttle
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