Definition of donnish in US English:



  • Thought to resemble or suit a college don, particularly because of a pedantic, scholarly manner.

    • ‘The community was quietist, contemplative in spirit, and rather donnish, with Augustine as acknowledged leader providing answers to questions raised in the discussions.’
    • ‘They should really check out the donnish chap, who's in tailored jeans and a linen jacket.’
    • ‘He has been called donnish and an original thinker.’
    • ‘Kant's private life is often parodied as one of clockwork routine, fastidious, donnish, and self-centred.’
    • ‘If he has forced ministers to mull over some harsh truths, we should forgive him the odd donnish flourish.’
    • ‘His donnish concerns and highly specific milieu make him less ‘contemporary and accessible’ than his Anglophilic, Masterpiece Theaterish, young fogey fans might think.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘True individualism among academics, to say nothing of donnish eccentricity, is but a memory.’
    • ‘Face to face, he seems donnish, gentle, almost languid, but perhaps he is just tired.’
    • ‘Indeed, his donnish uniform - blue cords, woolly jumper - would point to a different set of opinions but, as he says, this war is unusual.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Perhaps, though, under the donnish joking they won't notice a great deal of subtlety.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They would have made a donnish joke of it perhaps, but their critical teeth would have been bared.’
    • ‘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.’
    scholarly, studious, academic, scholastic, bookish, book-loving, intellectual, erudite, educated, learned, serious, earnest, thoughtful, cerebral, highbrow
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