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See also: Callow



From Middle English calwe (bald), from Old English calu (callow, bare, bald), from Proto-Germanic *kalwaz (bare, naked, bald), from Proto-Indo-European *gel(H)wo- (naked, bald). Cognate with West Frisian keal (bald), Dutch kaal (bald), German kahl (bald), Russian го́лый (gólyj, nude), Latin calvus (bald), Persian کل(kal), Sanskrit कुल्व (kulvá).



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

  1. (obsolete) Bald.
  2. Unfledged (of a young bird).
    • 2019, Barney Ronay, Liverpool’s waves of red fury and recklessness end in joyous bedlam (in The Guardian, 8 May 2019)[1]
      Barça had frozen. Alexander-Arnold saw it, caught Divok Origi’s eyes and pinged the perfect cross for a double-take of a winning goal. This was a 20-year-old local lad, product of down the road, out-thinking Barcelona, making them look like callow, pigeon-chested schoolboys.
    • (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
      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. (of a brick) Unburnt.
  7. Of land: low-lying and liable to be submerged.



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.
  3. An alluvial flat.


  • callow” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.