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