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boy +‎ -ish


  • IPA(key): /ˈbɔɪ.ɪʃ/
  • Hyphenation: boy‧ish


boyish (comparative more boyish, superlative most boyish)

  1. Like a stereotypical boy in appearance or demeanor.
    People disliked his boyish and juvenile behaviour.
    Her boyish figure belied her femininity.
    • 1815 December (indicated as 1816), [Jane Austen], chapter XV, in Emma: [], volume III, London: [] [Charles Roworth and James Moyes] for John Murray, →OCLC, pages 279–280:
      He did so, but very soon stopt again to say, “the piano-forte! Ah! That was the act of a very, very young man, one too young to consider whether the inconvenience of it might not very much exceed the pleasure. A boyish scheme, indeed!—I cannot comprehend a man’s wishing to give a woman any proof of affection which he knows she would rather dispense with; and he did know that she would have prevented the instrument’s coming if she could.”
    • 1855, Frederick Douglass, “The Author’s Childhood”, in My Bondage and My Freedom. [], New York, Auburn, N.Y.: Miller, Orton & Mulligan [], →OCLC, part I (Life as a Slave), page 41:
      He is never expected to act like a nice little gentleman, for he is only a rude little slave. Thus, freed from all restraint, the slave-boy can be, in his life and conduct, a genuine boy, doing whatever his boyish nature suggests; []