Definition of bookish in English:



  • 1(of a person or way of life) devoted to reading and studying.

    ‘a bookish, untidy boy’
    ‘the war proved the deepest trauma of a largely bookish life’
    • ‘As a shy, bookish child, I felt very much an outsider when I was growing up, and the discovery of our secret Romany past was the key which unlocked a mass of possible explanations.’
    • ‘Annalise whose zest for life and whose loud raucous ways had been both shocking and enticing to the bookish Emily.’
    • ‘In this sanctuary he is to be found, his punishing day's tally of work completed, sitting content, smoking endless pipes and gossiping with bookish friends the moon down the sky.’
    • ‘She is brilliantly but mordantly characterised by her bookish son.’
    • ‘Jenny was bookish; the only young man capable to follow her train of thought was Michael - with whom Jenny often engaged in heated debates about philosophy and boring books.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, given this background, the stories nearly all involve bookish men; old churches, libraries and cathedrals feature heavily.’
    • ‘She was not a bookish person, but she loved to read as well as do things like fishing and gardening; she also loved doing things with me.’
    • ‘I was a bookish kid, largely because of coordination problems that didn't really get sorted out until 1987-8.’
    • ‘A highly sensitive and bookish boy, he felt he had largely educated himself by his reading in great authors.’
    • ‘I wanted to be admired by pretty, bookish women.’
    • ‘They were readers of newspapers and periodicals, they were eternal students in the best sense, they were bookish people.’
    • ‘My parents have always been bookish people and obviously my father went to Cambridge and I grew up feeling that I must do the same.’
    • ‘Almost six in ten women think men who read books are more interesting and intelligent while almost half think bookish blokes are more sensitive.’
    • ‘By the 1941 Christmas season, the bookish technician got wind of an outlandish project to determine if ethnicity was a factor in the flying business.’
    • ‘It sounded like the daydream of a lonely and bookish boy.’
    • ‘I thought, when I first opened the package, that I was going to have to write a carefully worded piece saying only that, if you're looking for a Christmas present for a bookish friend, this might do.’
    • ‘She's bookish, bespectacled, redheaded, and stubborn!’
    • ‘Almost all the topics of conversation were foreign to me, but then I came from a bookish family and was studying philosophy, French, and classics at university.’
    • ‘Soon these two bookish characters fall in love.’
    • ‘But to concentrate on the theory means that you are bookish, weedy, un-masculine and alien.’
    studious, scholarly, academic, literary, intellectual, highbrow, erudite, learned, well read, widely read, educated, well educated, well informed, knowledgeable, cultured, accomplished
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    1. 1.1 (of language or writing) literary in style or allusion.
      ‘his Welsh was rather bookish’
      • ‘Having successfully dodged active service, he spent most of the war in Berkshire, writing radio talks for the BBC and bookish articles for the Statesman.’
      • ‘Sealed in their Gaelic oral tradition, the Highlanders themselves had little need of a bookish literature, but two great writers were to make them a topic of universal human interest.’
      • ‘It's movie dialogue, to be sure - no one, especially the sort of low-life characters they tend to write, speaks with such mellifluous, bookish vocabulary.’
      • ‘They employ scientific, or philosophical, or literary, or bookish terms that go over their congregations' heads.’
      • ‘For such speakers, Latin had always been a strange, alien, and bookish tongue.’
      • ‘Because of a tradition of teaching English formally through grammar, translation, and literature, spoken usage is often stilted and bookish.’
      • ‘Even the most bookish work that seems esoteric on the written page can be transformed by actors into the cadences of characters and themes.’
      • ‘I have recently realized that sometimes my writing is too bookish and sometimes it isn't bookish enough, all depending on who happens to be reading it.’
      • ‘Sayid does use a lot of bookish language.’
      • ‘Actually, I find the candidates a bit adorably nerdy when they lapse into this kind of bookish vocabulary.’
      • ‘Nothing seems to me so inane as bookish language in conversation.’
      • ‘I don’t see anything wrong with writing bookish English, though it lacks a tad of fluency, it’s certainly elegant and exquisite.’