• IPA: /ˈmæn.ɪʃ/


  1. (of a woman) Resembling or characteristic of a man, masculine. [from 16th c. (from 14th c. in Middle English)]
    Synonyms: butch, masculine, unladylike
    • c. 1601, William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act III, Scene 3,
      A woman impudent and mannish grown
      Is not more loathed than an effeminate man
      In time of action.
  2. Resembling or characteristic of a grown man (as opposed to a boy); mature, adult. [from 16th c.]
    Synonyms: manly, grown up
    • c. 1609, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act IV, Scene 2,
      And let us, Polydore, though now our voices
      Have got the mannish crack, sing him to the ground,
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, Volume I, Letter 8,
      And so, with an air of mannish superiority, he seems rather to pity the bashful girl, than to apprehend that he shall not succeed.
    • 1957, Langston Hughes, Simply Heavenly: A Comedy with Music, Dramatists Play Service, Act I, Scene 4, page 25,
      […] Aunt Lucy found out about it and woke me up the next morning with a switch in her hand. . . . But I got all mannish that morning, Joyce. I said, “Aunt Lucy, you ain’t gonna whip me no more. I’se a man now—and you ain’t gonna whip me.”
    • 2011, Mickel Brann, “Don’t take it personal,” Antigua Observer, 30 March, 2011,
      It’s things like these that remind me that for all his mannish ways, he’s still just a little tyke after all.
  3. (Caribbean, Guyana) Impertinent; assertive. [from 19th c.]
    • 2014, Kurt Campbell, “Police left 15-year-old to die — Relatives,”, 11 March, 2014,
      “They could have saved his life because he was still living, one woman said when she told the police that the boy was alive he said leave him to die, he’s wanted,” Giddings cried, adding that “I know he bad, he mannish, he does misbehave but I never know he was wanted… how can they make the claim without medical assistance.”
  4. (archaic) Resembling or characteristic of a human being, in form or nature; human. [from 16th c. (from 9th c. in Anglo-Saxon)]
    • 1955, JRR Tolkien, The Return of the King:
      The Westron was a Mannish speech, though enriched and softened under Elvish influence.

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