One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(of a horse) perform a series of jumps on the hind legs.
- ‘Duke prances like a bear on his hind legs, forcing May Lundstrom to curvet with him.’
- ‘It took me some time for the A.G. and myself to get rid of the curvetting dogs, prone as they are to rushing in figures of eight through the house, after which I tried to find Miss Cat, who was not to be had.’
- 1.1 Leap gracefully or energetically.
A graceful or energetic leap.
- ‘It comes ‘in curvets and caprioles, with the flashing of glutted fish-runs’, and so on for a page of equally shimmery and restive fine-tuning.’
Late 16th century: from Italian corvetta, diminutive of corva, earlier form of curva ‘a curve’, from Latin curvus ‘bent’.
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