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[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
First recorded in 1150-1200, sheepish is from the Middle English word shepisshe. See sheep, -ish1
Related forms
sheepishly, adverb
sheepishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sheepish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I ain't more 'n half a man when she's round, she makes me feel so sheepish.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • And who would have suspected so very fierce a wolf under so sheepish an outside?

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • I ain't more'n half a man when she's round, she makes me feel so sheepish.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • He handed the assortment to Miss Thomas with a sheepish grin.

    A Son of the City

    Herman Gastrell Seely
  • He swings me around facin' her, and I expect I must have acted some sheepish.

    Torchy, Private Sec. Sewell Ford
  • As he was leaving, Redcar spoke to him in rather a sheepish way.

British Dictionary definitions for sheepish


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 sheepish

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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