American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A light leap by a horse, in which both hind legs leave the ground just before the forelegs are set down.
- v. To leap in a curvet.
- v. To prance; frolic.
- v. To cause to leap in a curvet.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In the manège, a leap of a horse in which both the fore legs are raised at once and equally advanced, the haunches lowered, and the hind legs brought forward, the horse springing as the fore legs are falling, so that all his legs are in the air at once.
- n. Figuratively, a prank; a frolic.
- To leap in a curvet; prance.
- To leap and frisk.
- To cause to make a curvet; cause to make an upward spring.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Man.) A particular leap of a horse, when he raises both his fore legs at once, equally advanced, and, as his fore legs are falling, raises his hind legs, so that all his legs are in the air at once.
- n. A prank; a frolic.
- v. To make a curvet; to leap; to bound.
- v. To leap and frisk; to frolic.
- v. To cause to curvet.
- v. perform a leap where both hind legs come off the ground, of a horse
- n. a light leap by a horse in which both hind legs leave the ground before the forelegs come down
- From Italian corvetta, diminutive of corva, an early form of curva ‘curve’, from Latin curva feminine of curvus ‘bent, curved’. (Wiktionary)
- Italian corvetta, from Old Italian, from Old French courbette, from courber, to curve, from Latin curvāre, from curvus, curved; see sker-2 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I can see my husband riding the margins of the field, talking to his land steward, and I kick Arthur into a rolling canter and come up to him in a rush that makes his own horse sidle and curvet in the mud.”
“Theogine's horse in Heliodorus  curvet, prance, and go so proudly, exultans alacriter et superbiens, &c., but that such as mine author supposeth, he was in love with his master? dixisses ipsum equum pulchrum intelligere pulchram domini fomam?”
“But gaining in speed; and gaining on him, slicing toward him in a wide curvet like hounds let loose on the side of a meadow, and he the fox already moving broadly down its middle.”
“The others laughed, one pulled hard on the reins, making his broad-shouldered mount snort and curvet.”
“English ideas the _pollo_ is more objectionable there than elsewhere, since his idea of riding is to show off the antics of a horse specially taught and made to prance about and curvet while he sits it, his legs sticking out in the position of the Colossus of Rhodes, his heels, armed with spurs, threatening catastrophe to the other riders.”
“The pad began to curvet as the post horses rattled behind, and the Parson had only an indistinct vision of a human face supplanting these human legs.”
“Protestants: Horse-coursers jades will bound, curvet and shew more tricks, then a horse well mettled for the rode or cart.”
“To see thee curvet, and mount like a dog in a blanket,”
“At least I imagined so this morning, with our craft "upon a wind," whilst standing in the weather gangway, and watching her plunge and curvet, held up to her course by the helm, as a steed by a curb, obeying its rider; but I did not think the motion as agreeable as that derived from equestrian exercise.”
“The girls came out of the cottage doors to look at him, as he made the fiery little beast curvet and prance along the road; and he was evidently not insensible to the looks of admiration of these young ladies, as they muffled up their faces in their blue rebozos and looked at him through the narrow opening.”
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