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Skittles - - 153273


Origin unknown. Perhaps of North Germanic origin, from Old Norse skutill (bolt, harpoon), related to skjóta (to shoot), but the OED dismisses this connection as conjecture.

The Old Norse word is related to Swedish and Danish skyttel (shuttle, child's toy). Compare also Old English sċytel (a dart, bolt). More at shuttle.


  • IPA(key): /ˈskɪtəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪtəl


skittle (plural skittles)

  1. One of the wooden targets used in skittles.
    • 1960 March, “The January blizzard in the North-East of Scotland”, in Trains Illustrated, page 137:
      By the afternoon it seemed as if the storm had passed and that frost was setting in; but in the evening the wind rose to gale force, bringing telegraph poles down like skittles and tangling power and telephone lines.

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skittle (third-person singular simple present skittles, present participle skittling, simple past and past participle skittled)

  1. (intransitive) To play skittles.
  2. (transitive) (with down) To squander one's money.
  3. (transitive, cricket) (sometimes with out) To rapidly bowl out a succession of batsmen.
    1. (transitive, figuratively) To defeat easily.
  4. (transitive) To knock down (skittles).

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