clan·​nish ˈkla-nish How to pronounce clannish (audio)
: of or relating to a clan
clannish traditions
: tending to associate only with a select group of similar background or status
a clannish community
clannishly adverb
clannishness noun

Example Sentences

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 As each story revolves around the perils and power of racial or clannish identity, their sequels would naturally call for advances in inclusion of all kinds. Mary Mcnamara, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2022 And yet to visit Derry’s neighborhoods is to find a strange mix of clannish loyalty and civic open-mindedness. New York Times, 3 July 2022 Without aspirations for the future, they are held together by clannish loyalty and racist resentment — an empty sense of white entitlement and a perpetually expanding catalog of grievances. New York Times, 8 Dec. 2021 Family WhatsApp groups keep veritable scorecards of famous desis, as though Vice President Kamala Harris or Surgeon General Vivek Murthy were cousins on whom to lavish clannish pride. Sanjena Sathian, Time, 9 Apr. 2021 At first, Edge’s noisy entourage and naive enthusiasm irritated the park’s rather shy and clannish community of bird enthusiasts. Melissa Groo, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Mar. 2021 Think Jeronimo Yanez, Philando Castile’s killer, and see how young officers fare in these toxic, clannish environments. Cynthia Gomez Engoulou, Star Tribune, 19 Nov. 2020 At the same time, its historical imagination is clannish. Nikil Saval, The New Republic, 26 Oct. 2020 The mine companies did, however, pour funding into excellent schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure, and Ely’s mix of clannish immigrants implanted a lasting culture of saunas and stable family life. Jack Brook, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 July 2020 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of clannish was in 1776

Dictionary Entries Near clannish

Cite this Entry

“Clannish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



clan·​nish ˈklan-ish How to pronounce clannish (audio)
: tending to associate only with a group of persons like oneself
clannishness noun

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