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

  • adj. Of, relating to, or held to be characteristic of a university don; bookish or pedantic. See Synonyms at pedantic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Bookish, theoretical and pedantic, as opposed to practical.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. like a university don; marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning, especially its trivial aspects.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to or characteristic of an English university don.

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

  • adj. marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning especially its trivial aspects


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

don +‎ -ish


  • He sat in a vast arm-chair, crossed his knees, joined his hands, and with what Troy called his donnish manner, prepared to tackle Cedric.

    Final Curtain

  • It was only to those who had but few personal dealings with him that he seemed stiff and "donnish"; to his more intimate acquaintances, who really understood him, each little eccentricity of manner or of habits was a delightful addition to his charming and interesting personality.

    The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll (Rev. C. L. Dodgson)

  • I have before me a letter to one of the evening papers, written in a tone of academic sarcasm which proves that even the supercilious and "donnish" element is not lacking in Chicago culture.

    America To-day, Observations and Reflections

  • [222] He was never a professor, but was an inspector; and, though I may be biassed, I think the inspector is usually the more "donnish" animal of the two.

    A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2 To the Close of the 19th Century

  • And to do this, one has to speak to its winemaker: the thoughtful, donnish 71-year-old Aubert de Villaine, who, along with his co-director Henry-Fr é d é ric Roch, has, for more than a quarter of a century, has been at the forefront of not only restoring the reputation of the wines of Domaine de la Roman é e-Conti but also of the wines of Burgundy itself.

    Searching for Perfection

  • Gilbert Ryle, with donnish absurdity, called God “a category mistake”.


  • Unawareness of this is common among our donnish types, however — even ones so appealing asSomin.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Books that Influenced Me the Most

  • Ian Richards and Charles Ogden were not indulging in some donnish jeu d'esprit when they wrote their book The Meaning of Meaning, published in 1923 and never out of print since.

    In praise of … hazy imprecision | Editorial

  • Regarded by some as Britain's foremost critics, Kermode was instrumental in the creation of the London Review of Books, and his accessibility made him a kind of bridge between the donnish world of academic literature and novels as they were read by everyday people.

    Frank Kermode Dead: Respected English Literary Critic And Shakespeare Scholar Dies At 90

  • At a little after the last minute, he havered and made himself look foolish, even donnish, itself a defeat for someone who had always soared above such stereotypes.

    Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Biography by Adam Sisman


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