9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[shee-pish] /ˈʃi pɪʃ/
embarrassed or bashful, as by having done something wrong or foolish.
like sheep, as in meekness, docility, etc.
Origin of sheepish
1150-1200; Middle English shepisshe. See sheep, -ish1
Related forms
sheepishly, adverb
sheepishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sheepishly
  • He came back into the room sheepishly admitting that yes there was insulation, but bug parts as well.
  • Some sheepishly called their employers, apologizing for their spotty attendance.
  • Suddenly he stopped talking and his gaunt face became boyish as he grinned almost sheepishly.
  • The intruders confessed that they were not and sheepishly got up to leave.
  • As the jury delinquents slink sheepishly toward her desk she raises her brow.
  • People waiting to buy lunch shift their gaze sheepishly.
  • The school, perhaps a little sheepishly, accepts that he does.
  • One of the execs sheepishly looked at the other execs.
  • Dad suffered, smiling sheepishly through a number of scenes at the dinner table-and at other times, too.
  • And, she added sheepishly, both the resident and the attending physician would be grading her.
British Dictionary definitions for sheepishly


abashed or embarrassed, esp through looking foolish or being in the wrong
resembling a sheep in timidity or lack of initiative
Derived Forms
sheepishly, adverb
sheepishness, 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 sheepishly



c.1200, "resembling a sheep" in some perceived characteristic, from sheep + -ish. The sense of "bashful, over-modest, awkward among strangers" first is recorded 1690s. Related: Sheepishly; sheepishness. Old English had sceaplic "of a sheep, 'sheep-ly.'"

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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