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

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 most successful of those managers have carved out a niche catering to the valley’s famously clannish billionaire elites. James McClain, Robb Report, 6 Dec. 2023 There are a broad spectrum of other possible explanations for the disparate outcomes Boegeman cites, including religious differences, geographic differences, even — gasp — the clannish propensity of ethnic groups to band together and create — or retain — their unique cultural traditions. Star Tribune, 19 July 2021 The Trumps are nothing if not clannish. Hari Kunzru, The New York Review of Books, 2 July 2020 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clannish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 22 May. 2024.

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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