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See more synonyms for bookish on Thesaurus.com
  1. given or devoted to reading or study.
  2. more acquainted with books than with real life.
  3. of or relating to books; literary.
  4. stilted; pedantic.
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Origin of bookish

First recorded in 1560–70; book + -ish1
Related formsbook·ish·ly, adverbbook·ish·ness, nounnon·book·ish, adjectivenon·book·ish·ly, adverbnon·book·ish·ness, nouno·ver·book·ish, adjectiveo·ver·book·ish·ly, adverbo·ver·book·ish·ness, nounun·book·ish, adjectiveun·book·ish·ly, adverbun·book·ish·ness, noun

Synonyms for bookish

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for bookish

studious, brainy, academic, intelligent, learned, literary, pedantic, smart, scholastic

Examples from the Web for bookish

Contemporary Examples of bookish

Historical Examples of bookish

  • In a paper on his books, it is permissible to end with a bookish anecdote.

  • I had not dared to look into her eyes, as I talked meaningless, bookish words.

  • He's vulgar and hysterical and bookish, but don't think that sums him up.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • No one pretends that Patrick Henry ever became a bookish person.

    Patrick Henry

    Moses Coit Tyler

  • Your minds are not your own, but the patches of other people's bookish duds.

    John Splendid

    Neil Munro

British Dictionary definitions for bookish


  1. fond of reading; studious
  2. consisting of or forming opinions or attitudes through reading rather than direct personal experience; academica bookish view of life
  3. of or relating to booksa bookish career in publishing
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Derived Formsbookishly, adverbbookishness, 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

Word Origin and History for bookish


1560s, "literary," from book (n.) + -ish. In sense of "overly studious" it is recorded from 1590s. Related: Bookishly; bookishness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper