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Last updated at 12:57 BST, Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Sheepish

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Neil says that Helen is looking rather sheepish when he sees her. Helen is in fact wearing a woolly jumper, but does it make her look like a sheep? Or is it just another new expression?

Sheep

The script for this programme

Neil: Hi, I'm Neil and this is Helen!

Helen: Hello.

Neil: What's wrong Helen? You're looking rather sheepish.

Helen: Sheepish? Like a sheep? I know my jumper is quite woolly.

Neil: I don't mean you look like a sheep. I mean you look sheepish, which is quite different!

Helen: Of course, looking like a sheep and looking sheepish are two totally different things, obviously!

Neil: Yes. If I say you look like a sheep, it means, well, you look like a sheep. But if I say you look sheepish, it means you look embarrassed or ashamed about something.

Helen: To look sheepish means you look embarrassed or ashamed – like you've done something wrong or silly?

Neil: Yes!

Helen: Ah, yes.

Neil: Listen to some examples:

  • Tom walked into the room looking sheepish.
  • Emily grinned sheepishly as she closed the door behind her.
  • James gave her a sheepish look.


Neil: So, come on Helen, why are you looking sheepish today?

Helen: Ah, well...

Neil: Yes?

Helen: Well, you know that book you lent me?

Neil: My favourite book of all time – the original edition of The Private lives of the Greatest Cats in History?

Helen: Yes.

Neil: OK Helen, now you're looking very sheepish indeed, so you'd better hurry up and tell me what happened to it.

Helen: I dropped it.

Neil: You dropped it? Well I hope it's not damaged, otherwise I'll have to -

Helen: ...in the river.

Neil: In the river! You dropped it in the river!

Helen: It was carried away, I couldn't get it out.

Neil: Oh no!

Helen: I'm so sorry. That's why I am looking sheepish.

Neil: You should be looking even more sheepish than that. In fact, I expect you to look sheepish for several days. It was the best book in the world! 'Sheepish' doesn't do it justice...

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