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See more synonyms for clannish on Thesaurus.com
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a clan.
  2. inclined to associate exclusively with the members of one's own group; cliquish: the clannish behavior of the original members of the country club.
  3. imbued with or influenced by the sentiments, prejudices, or the like, of a clan.
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Origin of clannish

First recorded in 1770–80; clan + -ish1
Related formsclan·nish·ly, adverbclan·nish·ness, nounun·clan·nish, adjectiveun·clan·nish·ly, adverbun·clan·nish·ness, noun


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

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Examples from the Web for clannish

Historical Examples

  • In the first place this interesting bird is a clannish fellow.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • Norfolk men are clannish, and Horbury's evidence carried weight.

    The Shrieking Pit

    Arthur J. Rees

  • "Then the Highlanders are as clannish as ever," cried the General.

  • But she was a clannish creature, and rushed at once to the defence of her brother.

  • They are national in form and colour, but clannish in opinion.

British Dictionary definitions for clannish


  1. of or characteristic of a clan
  2. tending to associate closely within a limited group to the exclusion of outsiders; cliquish
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Derived Formsclannishly, adverbclannishness, 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 clannish


"disposed to adhere closely to one another," 1747, from clan + -ish. Related: Clannishly; clannishness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper