resembling or characteristic of an owl: His thick glasses give him an owlish appearance.

Origin of owlish

First recorded in 1605–15; owl + -ish1
Related formsowl·ish·ly, adjectiveowl·ish·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for owlish

Contemporary Examples of owlish

Historical Examples of owlish

  • They looked at us with commiseration; one of them sweetly, the other with his owlish fixity.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • The owlish glasses focused with noncommittal stoicism in its direction.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht

  • They were all round and owlish, and they thickened up in middle life.

    Old Crow

    Alice Brown

  • Some motive they have for all their clamor, but it passes my owlish wisdom to guess what it can be.

    A Florida Sketch-Book

    Bradford Torrey

  • She washed the baby in it, and he stared at her all the time, with big, owlish eyes.

    Fairies and Folk of Ireland

    William Henry Frost

British Dictionary definitions for owlish



like an owl
solemn and wise in appearance
Derived Formsowlishly, adverbowlishness, 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 owlish

1610s, from owl + -ish. Related: Owlishly; owlishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper