Definition of donnish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdɒnɪʃ/


Resembling a college don, particularly because of having a pedantic, scholarly manner.
Example sentences
  • He, after a lifetime in office, might be forgiven for expecting to have his advice taken seriously by a donnish, ineffectual Scottish peer who was chiefly known for the shapeliness of his legs and his patronage of botanists.
  • Perhaps, though, under the donnish joking they won't notice a great deal of subtlety.
  • By a donnish performance, more in the style of a school of philosophy than of an economics department, he proved the case for tax cuts, then forged an intellectual alibi for funking its implementation.
impractical, ivory-towerish
informal brainy, egghead
British informal swotty
dated lettered
archaic clerkly



Example sentences
  • Later in this highly allusive lyric, he goes on to explain donnishly.
  • When we meet, he is wearing a buttoned up suit and one of the designer's trademark floral shirts, all the while keeping his scarf tied donnishly around his neck.
  • They seem an unlikely couple, perhaps: she, a petite, girlish 53, with a curtain of dark, waist-length hair; he, donnishly crumpled with a shock of white hair.


Example sentences
  • Whatever middle-class donnishness I inherited quickly withered as I became involved in left-wing student and anti-racist politics.
  • The donnishness at least is not illusory: he lectures in forensic medicine at the University of Turin.
  • His style is a blend of Gaelic eloquence, Harvard donnishness and American stump evangelism.

Words that rhyme with donnish

admonish, astonish

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: don|nish

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