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lump +‎ -ish


lumpish (comparative more lumpish, superlative most lumpish)

  1. Shaped like a lump, lumpy, ill-defined in shape.
    • 1794, Uvedale Price, An Essay on the Picturesque, as Compared with the Sublime and the Beautiful, London: J. Robson, Chapter 9, p. 161,[1]
      It seems to me that mere unmixed ugliness does not arise from sharp angles, or from any sudden variation, but rather from that want of form, that unshapen lumpish appearance, which, perhaps, no one word exactly expresses; a quality that never can be mistaken for beauty, never can adorn it, and which is equally unconnected with the sublime and the picturesque.
    • 1854, Henry David Thoreau, Walden, “Spring,”[2]
      Thus, also, you pass from the lumpish grub in the earth to the airy and fluttering butterfly.
    • 1926, T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Chapter 54,[3]
      Continental soldiers looked lumpish beside our lean-bred fellows: but against my supple Nejdis the British in their turn looked lumpish.
  2. Like lumps, lumpy, composed of unshaped or mismatched pieces.
    • 2010, Charles Darwent, “Beauty and Power: The Peter Marino Collection, Wallace Collection, London,” The Independent, 1 May, 2010,[4]
      Bandinelli [] is otherwise best known for the lumpish statue of Hercules and Cacus that still stands outside the Palazzo, a desperate and failed attempt to rival the greatness of his nemesis.
    • 2015, Jason Farago, “The best American art shows of 2015,” The Guardian, 16 December, 2015,[5]
      The lumpish, irregular totems crafted by this American sculptor were outfitted here with that most contemporary and most loathsome of accessories: the selfie stick.
  3. Like a lump, cloddish, dull, slow-witted.
    • 1697, Daniel Defoe, An Essay Upon Projects, London: Tho. Cockerill, “Of Academies,” p. 293,[6]
      The whole Sex are generally Quick and Sharp: I believe I may be allow’d to say generally so; for you rarely see them lumpish and heavy when they are Children, as Boys will often be.
    • 1933, H. G. Wells, The Shape of Things to Come, Book Two, Chapter 1,[7]
      The Common People became therefore a mystical sympathetic being, essentially a God, whose altar was the hustings and whose oracle the ballot box. A little slow and lumpish was this God of the Age of European Predominance, but, though his mills ground slowly, men were assured that they ground with ultimate exactitude.
    • 1936, George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Chapter 7,[8]
      He felt horribly ashamed. He would have liked to throw himself on his knees beside her, put his arms round her, and ask her pardon. But he could do nothing of the kind; the scene had left him lumpish and awkward.
  4. (archaic) Without energy, lethargic.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, Book III, Canto 4, stanza 61,[9]
      [] So forth he went,
      With heavy looke and lumpish pace, that plaine
      In him bewraid great grudge and maltalent;
    • c. 1594, William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act III, Scene 2,[10]
      Upon this warrant shall you have access
      Where you with Silvia may confer at large;
      For she is lumpish, heavy, melancholy,
      And, for your friend’s sake, will be glad of you;
      Where you may temper her by your persuasion
      To hate young Valentine and love my friend.
    • 1602, attributed to Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton, Blurt, Master Constable,[11]
      [] a song I prethee, I love these French moovings; oh they are so cleane if you treade them true, you shal hit them to a haire; sing, sing, sing some odde and fantasticall thing, for I cannot abide these dull and lumpish tunes, the Musition stands longer a pricking them then I would doe to heare them: no, no, no, give mee your light ones, that goe nimbly and quicke, and are full of changes, and carrie sweet devision []
    • 1660, John Ball, A Treatise of Divine Meditation, London: H. Mortlock, p. 149,[12]
      I have greatly neglected the knowledge of God, when hee threatneth, I am senseless; in his presence, I am irreverent, dead-hearted when I appear before him; lumpish in Prayer, loose in Meditation []
    • 1760, Robert Lloyd, “Ode to Genius” in Samuel Johnson (ed.), The Works of the English Poets, from Chaucer to Cowper, 1810, Volume 15, p. 137,[13],
      Thou bear’st aloof, and look’st with high disdain,
      Upon the dull mechanic train;
      Whose nerveless strains flag on in languid tone,
      Lifeless and lumpish as the bagpipe’s drowzy drone.
  5. Awkward, inelegant.
    • 1951, “New Plays in Manhattan,” Time, 5 March, 1951,[14]
      But the play’s snatches of racy prose do not offset its stretches of lumpish playwriting. Too often both untidy and oldfashioned, it closed after four performances.
    • 2011, Deon Irish, “‘La Traviata’ in need of finer tuning,” Cape Times, 17 October, 2011,[15]
      Direction of the principal characters is effective, but the crowd scenes tend to the lumpish, with a paradoxically static feel, despite the overt busyness of it all.

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