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From Middle English calwe ‎(bald), from Old English calu ‎(callow, bare, bald), from Proto-Germanic *kalwaz ‎(bare, naked, bald), from Proto-Indo-European *galw-, *gAlw- ‎(naked, bald). Cognate with West Frisian keal ‎(bald), Dutch kaal ‎(bald), German kahl ‎(bald), Russian го́лый ‎(gólyj, nude), Latin calvus ‎(bald); cf. also Persian کل ‎(kal).



callow ‎(comparative callower or more callow, superlative callowest or most callow)

  1. (obsolete) Bald.
  2. Unfledged (of a young bird).
    • Dryden
      And in the leafy summit spy'd a nest, / Which, o'er the callow young, a sparrow pressed.
  3. Immature, lacking in life experience.
    Those three young men are particularly callow youths.
  4. Lacking color or firmness (of some kinds of insects or other arthropods, such as spiders, just after ecdysis). Teneral.
  5. Shallow or weak-willed.
  6. Unburnt (of a brick)



callow ‎(countable and uncountable, plural callows)

  1. A callow young bird.
  2. A callow or teneral phase of an insect or other arthropod, typically shortly after ecdysis, while the skin still is hardening, the colours have not yet become stable, and as a rule, before the animal is able to move effectively.