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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
1150-1200; Middle English shepisshe. See sheep, -ish1
Related forms
sheepishly, adverb
sheepishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for sheepishly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I never saw him so bad before," said the other, sheepishly.

    A Rent In A Cloud Charles James Lever
  • "I'm just cursing myself for being a fool," Turnbull said sheepishly.

    Dead Giveaway Gordon Randall Garrett
  • "Yes; I have a sort of recollection of it," answered Nugget sheepishly.

    Canoe Boys and Campfires William Murray Graydon
  • He offered his hand to her, sheepishly, and she gave it a vixenish slap.

    That Girl Montana Marah Ellis Ryan
  • sheepishly, but still trying to look as though he didn't care, Cheapside hopped out into the passage and Dab-Dab closed the door.

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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