Origin unknown. Perhaps of North Germanic origin (compare Old Norse skutill (“bolt, harpoon”), Danish skyttel (“shuttle, child's toy”)). Compare also Old English sċytel (“a dart, bolt”). More at shuttle.
skittle (plural skittles)
- 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.