Definition of donnish in English:



  • Resembling a college don, particularly because of having a pedantic, scholarly manner.

    • ‘True individualism among academics, to say nothing of donnish eccentricity, is but a memory.’
    • ‘At the time, this was treated as a donnish joke by many critics who conceived Wodehousian humour, in spite of its popularity, to be elitist, since it dealt with the goings-on of a wealthy and privileged few.’
    • ‘He, after a lifetime in office, might be forgiven for expecting to have his advice taken seriously by a donnish, ineffectual Scottish peer who was chiefly known for the shapeliness of his legs and his patronage of botanists.’
    • ‘Face to face, he seems donnish, gentle, almost languid, but perhaps he is just tired.’
    • ‘The observations above suggest that, whilst he may have been correct in writing about a decline in donnish dominion in the universities, he was over-hasty in proclaiming an end to that dominion.’
    • ‘By a donnish performance, more in the style of a school of philosophy than of an economics department, he proved the case for tax cuts, then forged an intellectual alibi for funking its implementation.’
    • ‘In donnish inquisitions he would challenge every utterance to expose lazy thinking.’
    • ‘The community was quietist, contemplative in spirit, and rather donnish, with Augustine as acknowledged leader providing answers to questions raised in the discussions.’
    • ‘He has been called donnish and an original thinker.’
    • ‘He has an infectious, donnish enthusiasm and joie de vivre that television producers obviously believe lends popular appeal to subjects that some viewers might otherwise consider dry as dust.’
    • ‘If he has forced ministers to mull over some harsh truths, we should forgive him the odd donnish flourish.’
    • ‘They would have made a donnish joke of it perhaps, but their critical teeth would have been bared.’
    • ‘That said, the emphasis on being trendy attracts a clientele which is far less donnish than the norm for an up-market Oxford restaurant.’
    • ‘I see myself at high table, passing the port as donnish jokes were tossed about.’
    • ‘They should really check out the donnish chap, who's in tailored jeans and a linen jacket.’
    • ‘His self-described life of writing, reading and lecturing resembles that of a donnish Edwardian vicar; a less modern, less stressful existence can scarcely be imagined.’
    • ‘His donnish concerns and highly specific milieu make him less ‘contemporary and accessible’ than his Anglophilic, Masterpiece Theaterish, young fogey fans might think.’
    • ‘Indeed, his donnish uniform - blue cords, woolly jumper - would point to a different set of opinions but, as he says, this war is unusual.’
    • ‘Perhaps, though, under the donnish joking they won't notice a great deal of subtlety.’
    • ‘Kant's private life is often parodied as one of clockwork routine, fastidious, donnish, and self-centred.’
    scholarly, studious, academic, scholastic, bookish, book-loving, intellectual, erudite, educated, learned, serious, earnest, thoughtful, cerebral, highbrow
    impractical, ivory-towerish
    brainy, egghead
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