embarrassed or bashful, as by having done something wrong or foolish.
like sheep, as in meekness, docility, etc.

Origin of sheepish

First recorded in 1150–1200, sheepish is from the Middle English word shepisshe. See sheep, -ish1
Related formssheep·ish·ly, adverbsheep·ish·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sheepish

Contemporary Examples of sheepish

Historical Examples of sheepish

  • I ain't more 'n half a man when she's round, she makes me feel so sheepish.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • And who would have suspected so very fierce a wolf under so sheepish an outside?

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • I ain't more'n half a man when she's round, she makes me feel so sheepish.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • He handed the assortment to Miss Thomas with a sheepish grin.

    A Son of the City

    Herman Gastrell Seely

  • He swings me around facin' her, and I expect I must have acted some sheepish.

British Dictionary definitions for sheepish



abashed or embarrassed, esp through looking foolish or being in the wrong
resembling a sheep in timidity or lack of initiative
Derived Formssheepishly, adverbsheepishness, 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 sheepish

c.1200, "resembling a sheep" in some perceived characteristic, from sheep + -ish. The sense of "bashful, over-modest, awkward among strangers" first is recorded 1690s. Related: Sheepishly; sheepishness. Old English had sceaplic "of a sheep, 'sheep-ly.'"

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper