\ ˈilk How to pronounce ilk (audio) \

Definition of ilk

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: sort, kind politicians and their ilk

Definition of ilk (Entry 2 of 3)

chiefly Scotland
: same used with that especially in the names of landed families

Definition of ilk (Entry 3 of 3)

chiefly Scotland

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Pronoun (1)

The Old English pronoun ilca is the predecessor of the modern noun ilk, but by way of a pronoun ilk that does not exist in most dialects of modern English. That ilk is synonymous with same, and persists in Scots where it's used in the phrase of that ilk, meaning "of the same place, territorial designation, or name." It is used chiefly in reference to the names of land-owning families and their eponymous estates, as in "the Guthries of that ilk," which means "the Guthries of Guthrie." Centuries ago a misunderstanding arose concerning the Scots phrase: it was interpreted as meaning "of that kind or sort," a usage that found its way into modern English. Ilk has been established in English with its current meaning and part of speech since the late 18th century.

Examples of ilk in a Sentence

Noun The club attracts punk rockers and others of that ilk. we're looking for chestnuts and other items of that ilk for our autumn decorations

First Known Use of ilk


1790, in the meaning defined above

Pronoun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Pronoun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ilk

Pronoun (1)

Middle English, from Old English ilca, from *i- that, the same (akin to Goth is he, Latin, he, that) + *lik- form (whence Old English līc body) — more at iterate, like

Pronoun (2)

Middle English, adjective & pronoun, from Old English ylc, ǣlc — more at each

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ilk

Time Traveler for ilk

Time Traveler

The first known use of ilk was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about ilk

Statistics for ilk

Cite this Entry

“Ilk.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ilk


How to pronounce ilk (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ilk

: sort or kind

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ilk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ilk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ilk

Spanish Central: Translation of ilk

Nglish: Translation of ilk for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ilk

What made you want to look up ilk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!