coltish

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English coltyssh, equivalent to colt +‎ -ish.

Adjective[edit]

coltish (comparative more coltish, superlative most coltish)

  1. Resembling a colt, especially:
    1. Lively, playful and undisciplined (often in a manner judged to be immature).[1]
      Synonyms: exuberant, frisky, frolicsome, high-spirited, spirited, unrestrained
      Antonyms: serious, sober
      • Late 1300s, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, “The Merchant’s Tale,”[2]
        And after that he sang ful loude and cleere,
        And kiste his wyf, and made wantown cheere
        He was al coltissh, ful of ragerye,
        And ful of jargon as a flekked pye.
      • 1603, Philemon Holland (translator), The Philosophie, commonlie called, the Morals written by the learned philosopher Plutarch of Chæronea, London, “The Education of Children,” p. 16,[3]
        Commeth he in the morning to do his dutie and bid thee good morrow, belching sowre and smelling strongly of wine, which the day before he drunke at the taverne with companions like himselfe? seeme to know nothing. Senteth he of sweete perfumes and costly pomanders? Hold thy peace and say nothing. These are the means to tame and breake a wilde and coltish youth.
      • 1782, William Cowper, “The Progress of Error” in Poems, London: J. Johnson, p. 59,[4]
        Plants rais’d with tenderness are seldom strong,
        Man’s coltish disposition asks the thong [i.e. whip],
        And without discipline the fav’rite child,
        Like a neglected forrester runs wild.
      • 1885, George Meredith, Diana of the Crossways, London: Chapman & Hall, Volume 3, Chapter 12, p. 231-232,[5]
        [] the batsmen were running and stretching bats, and the ball flying away, flying back, and others after it, and still the batsmen running, till it seemed that the ball had escaped control and was leading the fielders on a coltish innings of its own, defiant of bowlers.
    2. Tall, thin and awkward (especially of an older child or adolescent).
      Synonym: gangly
      • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, The Silverado Squatters, London: Chatto & Windus, “The Hunter’s Family,” p. 138,[6]
        He had a tangle of shock hair, the colour of wool; his mouth was a grin; although as strong as a horse, he looked neither heavy nor yet adroit, only leggy, coltish, and in the road.
      • 1928, Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall, London: Chapman & Hall, Chapter 3,[7]
        ‘Darling boy, how are you?’ she said. ‘Do you know, you’re beginning to look rather lovely in a coltish kind of way. Don’t you think so, Otto?’

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ B. E., A New Dictionary of the Canting Crew, London: W. Hawes et al., 1699: “Coltish, said when an old Fellow is frolicksom or wanton; or he has a Colt’s Tooth.”[1]