Also found in: Thesaurus.


1. Moving quickly and lightly; lively.
2. Restlessly active or nervous; restive.
3. Undependably variable; mercurial or fickle.
4. Shy; bashful.

[Middle English, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skjōta, to shoot; see shoot.]

skit′tish·ly adv.
skit′tish·ness n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.skittishly - in a skittish manner; "the horse pranced around skittishly"


[ˈskɪtɪʃlɪ] ADV (= capriciously) → caprichosamente; (= nervously) → nerviosamente; (= playfully) → de modo juguetón


adv (= playfully)übermütig, schelmisch; (= flirtatiously: of woman) → neckisch, kokett; (= nervously: of horse) → unruhig
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References in classic literature ?
Furthermore: you must know that when the second iron is thrown overboard, it thenceforth becomes a dangling, sharp-edged terror, skittishly curvetting about both boat and whale, entangling the lines, or cutting them, and making a prodigious sensation in all directions.
We began cheerfully, one might almost say skittishly, but our light-heartedness was gone by the time the first potato was finished.
Readers might anticipate a dry analytical style typical of too many Lewis analysis and assessments, but Hayward includes a wry sense of observational humor, evident in the first lines of his survey where a reflection on scholarly footnote traditions ventures into comedic cultural inspection: "As it is now solidly established practice to add an a footnote skittishly defending one's own choices regarding "gendered pronouns," I would like to quote a couple of tweets.
The novel charts his progression from a reluctant retiree who skittishly makes a beeline to his train at the sight of dark-skinned refugees to a caring volunteer who hears them out and tries to help them get settled.
Can you hear the slap of sandals along the old prom, as a fellow paces skittishly to the What-the-Butler-Saw machine?
"Another utter doom and gloom scenario by an organisation that simply hasn't got anything right" Former Tory Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith attacks the Office for Budget Responsibility in the wake of Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement "By his own morose standards he was almost skittishly optimistic in places" Political commentator Quentin Letts on Chancellor Philip Hammond's delivery of the Autumn Statement "The National Health Service is a national treasure, not an international treasure" An NHS spokesman on the problems created by health tourism "I've never wanted to be a lady who lunches.
The ship, not yet freighted with science equipment, rode high and skittishly. The shuffleboard game turned out to be some loose chairs, which were easily remedied, but as crew members made their rounds, they began taking note of things they would have to adjust.
Yes, it's a good defender of quality singing standards, but it may no longer be politically correct for 2016, which may be why it's been so skittishly enforced to date.
Brathwaite fended skittishly to Root at short leg and the hosts went to the interval in trouble on nine for one.
Both major parties have skittishly shied away from it.
Her gentile mother, about whom Levy writes skittishly, felt her life had been turned upside down when her husband was arrested and sent to prison, leaving her alone with five-year-old Deborah and her newborn brother.
Already he has played one skittishly, 30 not out off 28 balls in Mumbai, an appropriate response to knocking off a small victory target just as Tavare did on a couple of occasions in Colombo and Melbourne.