Definition of owlish in US English:



  • 1Like an owl, especially in acting or appearing wise or solemn.

    ‘he had an owlish and solemn air’
    • ‘The owlish soldier takes off his helmet, holds out his hand.’
    • ‘Physically, she brilliantly embodied the shrewd, sharp-eyed, owlish spinster, while also conveying her intuitive acumen and razor-sharp mind.’
    • ‘The owlish, quietly passionate woman stepped forward.’
    • ‘From 1955 to 1963, he was Chairman of the National Bank, an Irish clearing bank, again confounding those who took his owlish, academic demeanour at face value.’
    • ‘And if his features have recently seemed to take on a new youthfulness, his is still a face etched with experience, slowly hardening into the same benignly owlish countenance you see in photographs of his long-departed father, Jim.’
    serious, earnest, grave, sober, sombre, unsmiling, poker-faced, stern, grim, dour, humourless, glum, gloomy, moody, stony-faced
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of eyeglasses) resembling the large round eyes of an owl.
      • ‘Close's self-portrait underlines this paradox, his owlish glasses reiterating that artist and audience are creatures who long to see clearly.’
      • ‘I was pulling a book from the shelf when I heard the tinkle of the bell over the door, and before I knew it, Matt's aunt was standing in front of me, peering up at me through her wide, owlish glasses.’
      • ‘Her eyes are huge, like something you would expect to see magnified behind thick owlish glasses, lovely and bright blue, the sapphire enhanced wonderfully by her ivory skin and dyed black bob.’
      • ‘A scientist… the one who gave me my steroid shots, if I remember rightly… appeared, red-faced and out of breath, his owlish glasses askew on his wrinkled face.’
      • ‘At one stage he seemed to become almost as well-known for his flamboyant dress sense - the wide-brimmed hats, the peroxide hair, the big owlish glasses - as for his paintings.’