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a suffix used to form adjectives from nouns, with the sense of “belonging to” (British; Danish; English; Spanish); “after the manner of,” “having the characteristics of,” “like” (babyish; girlish; mulish); “addicted to,” “inclined or tending to” (bookish; freakish); “near or about” (fiftyish; sevenish).
a suffix used to form adjectives from other adjectives, with the sense of “somewhat,” “rather” (oldish; reddish; sweetish).
Origin of -ish1
Middle English; Old English -isc; cognate with German -isch, Gothic -isks, Greek -iskos; akin to -esque


a suffix occurring in i -stem verbs borrowed from French:
< French -iss-, extended stem of verbs with infinitives in -irLatin -isc-, in inceptive verbs Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • ish ver shorry you go get the money for the two cameels,” said he.

    The Giraffe Hunters Mayne Reid
  • I doubt it may be but a rusty instrument for want of use, the ——ish heart.

  • But then the curse said, ‘A daughter of ish,’ and she was a child of Japhet.

    The Wonderful Story of Ravalette Paschal Beverly Randolph
  • ish was wearing the look with which he always reacted to the unfamiliar.

    Desire No More Algirdas Jonas Budrys
  • ish lit the cigarette and flipped his lighter shut with a snap of the lid.

    Desire No More Algirdas Jonas Budrys
  • ish answered him truthfully, without more than ordinary reservations.

    Desire No More Algirdas Jonas Budrys
British Dictionary definitions for ish


sentence substitute
(slang) used to express reservation or qualified assent: Things are looking up. Ish


of or belonging to a nationality or group: Scottish
(often derogatory) having the manner or qualities of; resembling: slavish, prudish, boyish
somewhat; approximately: yellowish, sevenish
concerned or preoccupied with: bookish
Word Origin
Old English -isc; related to German -isch, Greek -iskos
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 ish


adjectival suffix, from Old English -isc, common Germanic (cf. Old Norse -iskr, German -isch, Gothic -isks), cognate with Greek diminutive suffix -iskos. Colloquially attached to hours to denote approximation, 1916.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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