Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Embarrassed, as by consciousness of a fault: a sheepish grin.
  • adj. Meek or stupid.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having the characteristics of a sheep
  • adj. shy, meek, shameful or embarrassed

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to sheep.
  • adj. Like a sheep; bashful; over-modest; meanly or foolishly diffident; timorous to excess.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to sheep.
  • Like a sheep; haging the character attributed to sheep or their actions; bashful; timorous to excessl over-modest; stupid; silly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. showing a sense of shame
  • adj. like or suggestive of a sheep in docility or stupidity or meekness or timidity

Etymologies

From sheep +‎ -ish. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Even the look the animals adopt when chewing grass has led to the phrase "sheepish".

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • They shared a long smooch before breaking out in sheepish grins.

    USATODAY.com - Hockey - Anaheim vs. Los Angeles

  • Josh bore it all with an expression of sheepish delight.

    Harvest

  • Unexpectedly, the new Israeli government that had been discounted by so many commentators because it is not led by a politician with an extensive military experience (some experience Olmert had, like most Israelis, but he is no Sharon), is acting tough with the “international community” and, in particular, the Europeans, whose representatives emerged looking rather sheepish from the round of talks this week-end. “

    Put up or shut up

  • In a tone that can only be described as sheepish, she added, You can keep the pencil sharpeners.

    Archive 2007-08-01

  • Raffles sat down again, lit a Sullivan, and gave what in any other man I should call a sheepish laugh.

    Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine

  • Pierce sucked in air, his expression turning sheepish.

    Sin City

  • The young Klingon glanced away for an instant and nodded, his expression faintly sheepish.

    A Flag Full of Stars

  • Something that may be described as sheepish defiance marked that swift, involuntary glance.

    Anderson Crow, Detective

  • "You know it very well -- you've guessed it," Nick returned, looking before him in a conscious, modest way which would have been called sheepish had he been a few years younger.

    The Tragic Muse

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Comments

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  • Found in the New York Times crosswords yesterday: "Sheepish". 5 letters. I suggested "ovine" and my American friend K. refused to try it.
    I was right :-)

    (see vainglorious)

    June 20, 2008