clan·​nish | \ ˈkla-nish How to pronounce clannish (audio) \

Definition of clannish

1 : of or relating to a clan clannish traditions
2 : tending to associate only with a select group of similar background or status a clannish community

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Other Words from clannish

clannishly adverb
clannishness noun

Synonyms for clannish


cliquey, cliquish, close-knit

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Examples of clannish in a Sentence

The college faculty can be pretty clannish, so it's difficult to be an outsider there. a clannish family that can be rather cool to outsiders

Recent Examples on the Web

The Oulipo, a diverse if clannish guild that has somehow managed to survive for fifty-eight years, has included both major writers and pedantic hobbyists, and inspired work along the entire range of its members’ capabilities. Luc Sante, Harper's magazine, "A Crew of Variegated Weirdos," 10 Jan. 2019 At a time when music has become a clannish activity, the age range, from teens to octogenarian and possibly beyond, was exceptional. Mark Swed,, "The ecstasy of Julius Eastman's ‘Femenine,’ and how angst and anger turn to beauty and grace," 23 May 2018 They were drawn as lazy, clannish, unclean, drunken brawlers who wallowed in crime and bred like rats. Michael Harriot, The Root, "When the Irish Weren’t White," 17 Mar. 2018 Assortative mating inputs wealth, social connections, and clannish expertise to gain its children entry to private schools, organized extracurriculars, and all sorts of socio-economic advantages. Rich Benjamin, Esquire, "The Disheartening Politics of Marriage," 13 Sep. 2017 The West Side – solid and loyal, traditional and clannish – takes care of its own. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc: Even on the West Side, love for Pete Rose is fading," 5 Aug. 2017 The chairman’s power endures amid a culture of sycophancy and clannish distrust of anyone outside his inner circle of party bosses. Frank Scaturro, National Review, "How a Political Machine Crushes Conservatism — and Democracy," 13 July 2017 That in-on-the-joke mentality, as well as the clannish nature of streetwear cool, has created a decades-long frenzy surrounding Supreme’s weekly releases. Lauren Schwartzberg, WIRED, "The Botmakers Who Rule the Obsessive World of Streetwear," 25 May 2017 At the same time, millennia of dynastic rule have taught the Chinese a thing or two about the tribal tendencies of the ruling class, as well as about clannish behavior at all levels of society. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Trump, Confucius, and China’s Vision," 19 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clannish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clannish

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for clannish

The first known use of clannish was in 1776

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English Language Learners Definition of clannish

often disapproving : not showing interest in people who are not part of your group or who are not similar to you

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More from Merriam-Webster on clannish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clannish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clannish

Spanish Central: Translation of clannish

Nglish: Translation of clannish for Spanish Speakers

Comments on clannish

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marked by turns or indirection

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