Definition of bookish in English:



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

    ‘by comparison I was very bookish, intellectual, and wordy in a wrong way’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, given this background, the stories nearly all involve bookish men; old churches, libraries and cathedrals feature heavily.’
    • ‘She's bookish, bespectacled, redheaded, and stubborn!’
    • ‘It sounded like the daydream of a lonely and bookish boy.’
    • ‘She is brilliantly but mordantly characterised by her bookish son.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were readers of newspapers and periodicals, they were eternal students in the best sense, they were bookish people.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But to concentrate on the theory means that you are bookish, weedy, un-masculine and alien.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Almost six in ten women think men who read books are more interesting and intelligent while almost half think bookish blokes are more sensitive.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Annalise whose zest for life and whose loud raucous ways had been both shocking and enticing to the bookish Emily.’
    • ‘I wanted to be admired by pretty, bookish women.’
    • ‘A highly sensitive and bookish boy, he felt he had largely educated himself by his reading in great authors.’
    • ‘I was a bookish kid, largely because of coordination problems that didn't really get sorted out until 1987-8.’
    • ‘Soon these two bookish characters fall in love.’
    • ‘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.’
    studious, scholarly, academic, literary, intellectual, highbrow, erudite, learned, well read, widely read, educated, well educated, well informed, knowledgeable, cultured, accomplished
    pedantic, pedagogical, donnish, bluestocking, cerebral, serious, earnest, thoughtful
    impractical, ivory-towerish
    brainy, egghead
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of language or writing) literary in style or allusion.
      ‘long bookish scholarship’
      ‘a bookish but eloquent erotic memoir’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sayid does use a lot of bookish language.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Actually, I find the candidates a bit adorably nerdy when they lapse into this kind of bookish vocabulary.’
      • ‘Because of a tradition of teaching English formally through grammar, translation, and literature, spoken usage is often stilted and bookish.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even the most bookish work that seems esoteric on the written page can be transformed by actors into the cadences of characters and themes.’
      • ‘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.’