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[ou-lish] /ˈaʊ lɪʃ/
resembling or characteristic of an owl:
His thick glasses give him an owlish appearance.
Origin of owlish
1605-15; owl + -ish1
Related forms
owlishly, adjective
owlishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for owlish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Some motive they have for all their clamor, but it passes my owlish wisdom to guess what it can be.

    A Florida Sketch-Book Bradford Torrey
  • She washed the baby in it, and he stared at her all the time, with big, owlish eyes.

    Fairies and Folk of Ireland William Henry Frost
  • They were all round and owlish, and they thickened up in middle life.

    Old Crow Alice Brown
  • Jarring gazed after her with an expression of owlish and unutterable surprise on his swarthy countenance.

    The Coxswain's Bride R.M. Ballantyne
  • Pursued and pursuers alike swept by the little figure with the owlish eyes, who had not taken his hands out of his pockets.

    The Napoleon of Notting Hill Gilbert K. Chesterton
  • She kept close to this phantom of monarchy, who came out in the day instead of midnight, with owlish, blinking eyes.

    The Countess of Charny Alexandre Dumas (pere)
  • The owlish glasses focused with noncommittal stoicism in its direction.

    Erik Dorn Ben Hecht
  • He thrust his owlish face over the board and shook the wine in his glass till in the light it sparkled like rubies.

British Dictionary definitions for owlish


like an owl
solemn and wise in appearance
Derived Forms
owlishly, adverb
owlishness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for owlish

1610s, from owl + -ish. Related: Owlishly; owlishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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