flighty vs skittish what difference

what is difference between flighty and skittish

English

Etymology

From flight +‎ -y. Compare Dutch vluchtig (volatile; fleeting; cursory), German flüchtig (volatile; fleeting; momentary; quick), Danish flygtig (elusive; evasive), Swedish flyktig.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈflaɪti/

Adjective

flighty (comparative flightier, superlative flightiest)

  1. Given to unplanned and silly ideas or actions.
  2. (of a bird) That flies easily or often.
    • 2013, Diego Gil, Henrik Brumm, Avian Urban Ecology
      “We know that flighty birds suffer from greater risk of raptor predation, and I assume that it is useful to understand the effects of urbanization because flighty species may be more vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbance.”
  3. (obsolete) Swift.

Translations



English

Etymology

Probably from skite (to move lightly and hurriedly; to move suddenly, particularly in an oblique direction (Scotland, Northern England)) +‎ -ish; compare skitter.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈskɪtɪʃ/
  • (T-flapping) IPA(key): [ˈskɪɾɪʃ]
  • Hyphenation: skit‧tish

Adjective

skittish (comparative more skittish, superlative most skittish)

  1. Easily scared or startled; timid.
    The cat likes people he knows, but he is skittish around strangers.
    • 1557, Roger Edgeworth, Sermons Very Fruitfull, Godly, and Learned, London: Robert Caly, The fiftenth treatice or Sermon,[1]
      All such be like a skittish starting horse, whiche coming ouer a bridge, wil start for a shadowe, or for a stone lying by him, and leapeth ouer on the other side into the water, & drowneth both horse and man.
  2. Wanton; changeable; fickle
    • c. 1601, William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act III, Scene 3,[2]
      How some men creep in skittish fortune’s hall,
      Whiles others play the idiots in her eyes!
    • 1785, William Cowper, The Task, London: J. Johnson, Book 2, p. 69,[3]
      [] ’Tis pitiful
      To court a grin, when you should wooe a soul;
      To break a jest, when pity would inspire
      Pathetic exhortation; and t’ address
      The skittish fancy with facetious tales,
      When sent with God’s commission to the heart.
  3. Difficult to manage; tricky.
    • 1872, George Eliot, Middlemarch, Book 2, Chapter 15,[4]
      For everybody’s family doctor was remarkably clever, and was understood to have immeasurable skill in the management and training of the most skittish or vicious diseases.

Synonyms

  • (easily scared or startled): spookish, jumpy, skittery, skitterish, squirrelly

Derived terms

  • skittishly
  • skittishness

Translations

See also

  • startle

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