• synonyms


  1. embarrassed or bashful, as by having done something wrong or foolish.
  2. like sheep, as in meekness, docility, etc.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sheepishly

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "We were going to hunt up a parson in Upper Chester," said the Captain, sheepishly.

  • “We were going to hunt up a parson in Upper Chester,” said the Captain, sheepishly.

    An Encore

    Margaret Deland

  • "I never saw him so bad before," said the other, sheepishly.

    A Rent In A Cloud

    Charles James Lever

  • "You're right—and wrong, Phil," Cloud stated, not at all sheepishly.

    The Vortex Blaster

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • He stared about him sheepishly, bewildered and abashed, and unspeakably aggrieved.

    Earth's Enigmas

    Charles G. D. Roberts

British Dictionary definitions for sheepishly


  1. abashed or embarrassed, esp through looking foolish or being in the wrong
  2. resembling a sheep in timidity or lack of initiative
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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 sheepishly



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.'"

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper