\ 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
: each

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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

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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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Ilk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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