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.

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

Synonyms for clannish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for clannishness

Historical Examples of clannishness

  • There is another trait of the Goriouns to record—their clannishness.

  • The clannishness of the mountaineer has been the subject of much comment.

  • But their clannishness does not shelter them from all tribulation.

    Jungle Folk

    Douglas Dewar

  • Thanks to their clannishness and pluck, they appear to be tolerably immune from attack.

    Jungle Folk

    Douglas Dewar

  • Indications are that they have retained their clannishness to a considerable degree.

British Dictionary definitions for clannishness


  1. of or characteristic of a clan
  2. tending to associate closely within a limited group to the exclusion of outsiders; cliquish
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 clannishness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper