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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
First recorded in 1605-15; owl + -ish1
Related forms
owlishly, adjective
owlishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for owlishly
Historical Examples
  • Trenchard shut one eye and owlishly surveyed his companion with the other.

    Mistress Wilding Rafael Sabatini
  • "You never can tell what will interest a woman," said Merrihew owlishly.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • Perhaps she noticed him jump, for she stopped at once and stared at him owlishly.

    Sinister Street, vol. 2 Compton Mackenzie
  • It would be owlishly humourless, uncritical, not to take Tolstoy seriously.

    The Critical Game

    John Albert Macy
  • Lucca stood off at a little distance studying him owlishly for a minute or two as he was chatting to me in the wings.

    Memoirs of an American Prima Donna Clara Louise Kellogg
  • To Meddy, staring horror-stricken, he seemed as owlishly wise as he looked while he explained the object of his expedition.

    Wolf's Head Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)
  • Johnny Coombs picked it up, looked at it owlishly, and put it back again.

    Gold in the Sky Alan Edward Nourse
  • Dogs barked at him, for he was a stranger in his own camp; children, playing in the dust, gazed upon him owlishly.

    The Valley of the Giants Peter B. Kyne
  • "Time, unlike our watches, never has to go to the jeweler's for repairs," said I owlishly.

    The Princess Elopes

    Harold MacGrath
  • He took a step forward; but I could only stand still and blink, owlishly.

British Dictionary definitions for owlishly


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 owlishly



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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