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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sheepishly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "We were going to hunt up a parson in Upper Chester," said the Captain, sheepishly.

  • “We were going to hunt up a parson in Upper Chester,” said the Captain, sheepishly.

    An Encore Margaret Deland
  • "I never saw him so bad before," said the other, sheepishly.

    A Rent In A Cloud Charles James Lever
  • "You're right—and wrong, Phil," Cloud stated, not at all sheepishly.

    The Vortex Blaster Edward Elmer Smith
  • He stared about him sheepishly, bewildered and abashed, and unspeakably aggrieved.

    Earth's Enigmas Charles G. D. Roberts
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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