- 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: ravish.
Origin of -ish2
< French -iss-, extended stem of verbs with infinitives in -ir ≪ Latin -isc-, in inceptive verbs
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- of or belonging to a nationality or groupScottish
- often derogatory having the manner or qualities of; resemblingslavish; prudish; boyish
- somewhat; approximatelyyellowish; sevenish
- concerned or preoccupied withbookish
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
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