Definition of callow in English:


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  • (of a young person) inexperienced and immature.

    ‘earnest and callow undergraduates’
    • ‘Sending off a bunch of callow lads because a few opinion-formers safely over conscription age thought it was a good idea and might secure the next election would have been outrageous.’
    • ‘A callow president had the sense to surround himself with people who had three great virtues.’
    • ‘He finds a way for us to root for the callow man, and even root for Martha and him to find happiness any way they can.’
    • ‘But Lara is adamant that their first match, against South Africa, will provide an accurate barometer of just how far his callow and inexperienced team have come.’
    • ‘However, we were but callow, untried amateurs back then.’
    • ‘Pop still mesmerises the callow tastes of the young, but rock seems to have been sidelined into a form that reflects the thought processes and last-gasp ambitions of the middle-aged.’
    • ‘Do officials or advisers, whose ignorance of learning and teaching is matched only by their callow arrogance, really believe that they have a right to tell primary teachers what to do and how to think?’
    • ‘Hay is able to recount the callow 17-year-old who impressed him in training.’
    • ‘The main body of the film focuses on Homer's physical and emotional journey, with Maguire, boyish and callow, fumbling his way through his character's awakening.’
    • ‘But as all the girls were being played by callow youths with high voices, many of the bawdy references would be directed at them and their questionable or unformed masculinity.’
    • ‘Even back then, even as a callow teen, I defended his right to have written it, though I was inclined to want to punch him in the face for having done so, were I ever to meet him.’
    • ‘More important, Higgins was fully credible as a heroic actor, while Hurley was perfect as the callow, fervent young Fugard.’
    • ‘He was once accused of suffering from mad cow disease on the back of his railings at opposing managers over his decision to enlist a platoon of callow, hungry juniors into senior football.’
    • ‘The story, such as it is, revolves around the amorous misadventures of the brothers Kirwan, three callow youths with high sex drives but poor steering control.’
    • ‘At 27 I was too breezy, too callow, and more gullible than I'd like to admit.’
    • ‘The modern proponents of self-esteem argue that the undeveloped self, however callow, should be praised as it is.’
    • ‘Our relationship goes back more than 25 years to the days when he was coaching at the Greenyards in Melrose, and I was a callow flanker still finding my way in the game.’
    • ‘His career has its interesting moments, but he registers on screen as no more than a callow, whey-faced pretty boy in need of a charisma transfusion.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, it's a case of familiar faces with the same blend of seasoned professionals and callow youths expected to form the backbone of the side.’
    • ‘More often than not he appears to be a gormless, callow youth blundering around the park, as much laughed at as berated, even by his own supporters.’
    immature, inexperienced, naive, green, as green as grass, born yesterday, raw, unseasoned, untrained, untried
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/ˈkalō/ /ˈkæloʊ/


Old English calu ‘bald’, of West Germanic origin, probably from Latin calvus ‘bald’. This was extended to mean ‘unfledged’, which led to the present sense ‘immature’.