from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Lacking adult maturity or experience; immature.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An alluvial flat along a river-course: a term used by writers on Irish geology and agriculture.
  • noun In coal-mining, the baring, or cover, of open workings.
  • Having the character of an alluvial flat: as, callow land; a callow meadow.
  • Bald; without hair.
  • Without feathers; that has not yet put forth feathers; naked; unfledged, as a young bird: as, “callow young,”
  • Pertaining to an unfledged bird: as, “callow down,” Drayton, The Owl.
  • Youthful; juvenile; very immature: as, a callow youth.
  • noun A bald person; a baldhead.
  • noun In entomology, an insect just emerged from its cocoon: especially applied to ants.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Destitute of feathers; naked; unfledged.
  • adjective Immature; boyish; “green”.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A kind of duck. See old squaw.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective obsolete Bald.
  • adjective Unfledged (of a young bird).
  • adjective Immature, lacking in life experience.
  • adjective Lacking color or firmness (of some kinds of insects or other arthropods, such as spiders, just after ecdysis). Teneral.
  • adjective Shallow or weak-willed.
  • adjective Unburnt (of a brick)
  • noun A callow young bird.
  • noun 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective young and inexperienced


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English calwe, bald, from Old English calu.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English calwe ("bald"), from Old English calu ("callow, bare, bald"), from Proto-Germanic *kalwaz (“bare, naked, bald”), from Proto-Indo-European *gAlw- (“naked, bald”). Cognate with West Frisian keal ("bald"), Dutch kaal ("bald"), German kahl ("bald"), Russian голый (gólyj, "nude").


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  • (Being a new anonymous:) I have nothing at all to say about Kate DiCamillo as a person, but agree that her work is often heavy-handed, condescending, uninteresting, and just plain callow.

    Here they are, Roger Sutton 2006

  • This is hardly triumphalism, but calling a callow frat boy out on his bullshit.

    Firedoglake » This Just In… 2006

  • He suddenly recalled a callow boy telling his tutor that he dreaded the sea voyage home, because he would have to be among common men rather than thoughtful acolytes like himself.

    Ship Of Destiny Hobb, Robin 2000

  • The man of the world sometimes came upon the glove in his pocket, and laughed at it, as such men do when they recall their callow youth.

    Tommy and Grizel 1898

  • Rolling Stone said that Stevie's singing was "callow," and many reviews said something like "... the raucous voice of Stevie Nicks and the golden-throated Christine McVie, who's the only good thing this band has left."

    ɘloЯ 2010

  • I don't excuse what he's done on the basis of kind of callow youth, because I think he's a 20-year-old who has spent about 17 or 18 years of that in on-the-job training for being a royal, so he should know better.

    CNN Transcript Jan 13, 2005 2005

  • In previous debates, he's looked rather young, inexperienced, "callow" is a word you sometimes heard, not ready for primetime, out of his element.

    CNN Transcript - Special Event: Republican Presidential Candidates Face off in Debate; Bush and McCain Battle for Reform Title - February 15, 2000 2000

  • Next morning early they sent in their 'callow' verses to the great man, and followed shortly themselves.

    The Age of Erasmus Lectures Delivered in the Universities of Oxford and London 1901

  • A Don Knotts stereotype, he was the nation's youngest mayor in 1977 when Cleveland went belly-up because he wouldn't cut enough to balance the budget-thus giving the word "callow" a bad connotation ….

    Tom Roeser Jake 2010

  • It later garnered a reputation for a certain kind of callow albeit popular licensed book, and for its constant attention to replicating certain effects of previous successful efforts -- the kind of relaunch and reconfigure and rehash grind that slowly drives readers away.

    The Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon 2010


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  • "If there's a candidate who exceeded realistic expectations, it was Biden who knocked it out of the park and exposed Palin for the attractive, but callow, candidate she really is."

    – DemFromCT, "Musings over Morning Coffee", DailyKos, 3 October 2008, on the vice-presidential candidates' debate, 2 October 2008.

    "Callow" is exactly the right word.

    October 3, 2008

  • "callow narcissism"

    January 21, 2009