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book +‎ -ish


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈbʊk.ɪʃ/
  • (file)


bookish (comparative more bookish, superlative most bookish)

  1. Fond of reading or studying, especially said of someone lacking social skills as a result.
    • 1783, Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, page 16:
      From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books. [] This bookish inclination at length determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already one son (James) of that profession.
  2. Characterized by a method of expression generally found in books.
    • 1957, Jack Kerouac, chapter 1, in On the Road, Viking Press, OCLC 43419454, part 1:
      Besides, all my New York friends were in the negative, nightmare position of putting down society and giving their tired bookish or political or psychoanalytical reasons, []
    • 1996, Helen L. Harrison, Pistoles/Paroles: Money and Language in Seventeenth-century French Comedy, page 50:
      Obviously, neither Corneille nor the characters who laugh at excessively bookish speech avoid literary convention.


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