• WordNet 3.6
    • v curvet perform a leap where both hind legs come off the ground, of a horse
    • n curvet a light leap by a horse in which both hind legs leave the ground before the forelegs come down
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Curvet (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.
    • Curvet A prank; a frolic.
    • v. t Curvet To cause to curvet.
    • Curvet To leap and frisk; to frolic.
    • Curvet To make a curvet; to leap; to bound. "Oft and high he did curvet ."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n curvet 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 curvet Figuratively, a prank; a frolic.
    • curvet To leap in a curvet; prance.
    • curvet To leap and frisk.
    • curvet To cause to make a curvet; cause to make an upward spring.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Curvet kur′vet a light leap of a horse in which he raises his forelegs together, next the hindlegs with a spring before the forelegs touch the ground: a leap, frolic
    • v.i Curvet (kur-vet′, kur′vet) to leap in curvets: to frisk:—pr.p. curvet′ting, curvet′ing; pa.p. cur′veted
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. corvet, It.corvetta,: cf. F. courbette,. See Curve, and cf. Corvetto


In literature:

The day of our reception, in curvetting about, he fell from his horse and had suffered various pains ever since.
"Southern Arabia" by Theodore Bent
Dozens of wild fellows were curvetting and racing around him.
"The Red Man's Revenge" by R.M. Ballantyne
It was a stirring scene of meeting, and chatting, and laughing, and rearing, and curvetting, and fresh air, and sunshine.
"The Floating Light of the Goodwin Sands" by R.M. Ballantyne
A colt of mettle will curvet and shew his paces.
"Posthumous Works" by Mary Wollstonecraft
They curvetted and capered about just as ponies do sometimes.
"Popular Adventure Tales" by Mayne Reid
Let me read it for you, dear Tanty, the picture hangs a little high and those curveting letters are hard to decipher.
"The Light of Scarthey" by Egerton Castle
What quackeries, what smiles and curvets!
"Sentimental Education, Volume II" by Gustave Flaubert
When the local was still far behind she would begin to curvet and take the bit between her teeth.
"The Biography of a Prairie Girl" by Eleanor Gates
The spirited animal began to curvet and rear, as if proud of his burthen.
"Gomez Arias" by Joaquín Telesforo de Trueba y Cosío
These plunges seemed to be gone into for exercise and by the way, like the curvets of a willing horse.
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 13 (of 25)" by Robert Louis Stevenson
She loosed my horse, got on his back, and trotted and curvetted down the road before us.
"The Serapion Brethren," by Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann
When Wat Gordon mounted into the saddle with an easy spring his horse bent back its head and curveted, biting at his foot.
"The Men of the Moss-Hags" by S. R. Crockett
More true is it that many women lie and curvet as a policy because they believe thus best to manage men.
"The Intelligence of Woman" by W. L. George
Nevertheless, the gentle and well-fed mule of a curate goes as far as the curveting palfrey of a knight.
"The Iron Pincers" by Eugène Sue
Up and down, up and down, twisting, curvetting, Tommy Bung held his audience spellbound with rhythm.
"A Bed of Roses" by W. L. George
As she was going home, bowed with grief, she saw a little black pony coming towards her, springing and curveting in every direction.
"The Grey Fairy Book" by Andrew Lang
She danced, and she sang, and she curveted gracefully on the frost-covered grass.
"Capricious Caroline" by E. Maria Albanesi
A curveting breeze blew up a spray of flowery snow, dusting their footing.
"Mountain" by Clement Wood
But why these bounds and curvets?
"The Humour and Pathos of Anglo-Indian Life" by Dr. Ticklemore
Through a thick cloud of dust the hussars rode along on raven-black horses, curvetting and occasionally snorting.
"A Russian Proprietor" by Lyof N. Tolstoi

In poetry:

Underneath my stroking hand,
Startled eyes of hazel bland
Kindling, growing larger,
Up thou leapest with a spring,
Full of prank and curveting,
Leaping like a charger.
"To Flush, My Dog" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning