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Jimmy Olsenish means "similar to Jimmy Olsen":

He is a nice enough boy - rather Jimmy Olsen-ish I thought.

She has an unreal figure, rather Barbie-ish in its proportions!

When you say, for instance, he is similar to Jimmy Olsen (in appearance, behaviour and character) you would say Jimmy Olsen-ish.

However, I can not understand the grammar points and meaning of the word rather here. Could you explain in detail?

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  • I think choster answered that question (which you asked in comment) already. ell.stackexchange.com/questions/19403/…. I also suggested dictionaries for the meaning of "rather". Have you looked it up yet? Mar 20, 2014 at 7:50
  • @Damkerng Just now saw your link. My answer is a duplicate. It was already answered in your link. Mar 27, 2014 at 7:39

3 Answers 3

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Consider the word "childish". When we say it's a childish behavior we mean that it's a childlike behavior or the behavior is similar to a child. So in both the following sentences you are right about the meaning of Name + "-ish" construction

He is a nice enough boy - rather Jimmy Olsen-ish I thought. (Olsen-ish = Olsen like or similar to Olsen)

She has an unreal figure, rather Barbie-ish in its proportions! (Barbie like or similar to Barbie)

Here is a usage note from dictionary -

-ish

  1. (a suffix) used to form adjectives from nouns, with the sense of “belonging to” ( British; Danish; English; Spanish ); “after the manner of,” “having the characteristics of,” “like” ( babyish; girlish; mulish ); “addicted to,” “inclined or tending to” ( bookish; freakish ); “near or about” ( fiftyish; sevenish ).
  2. (a suffix) used to form adjectives from other adjectives, with the sense of “somewhat,” “rather” ( oldish; reddish; sweetish ).

Now come to the usage of "rather" in this context -

Rather - [AS SUBMODIFIER] To a certain or significant extent or degree:

Example -

  1. She’s been behaving rather strangely.
  2. He’s rather an unpleasant man.

Now I am going to write the meaning of your sentences -

He is a nice enough boy - rather Jimmy Olsen-ish I thought. = He is a nice enough boy - almost like Olsen.

She has an unreal figure, rather Barbie-ish in its proportions! = She has an unreal figure, almost like Barbie in its proportions!

Hope it helps.

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Rather has the same meaning as 'quite' or 'somewhat' in this context.

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  • When has the word RATHER a negative meaning?
    – nima
    Mar 20, 2014 at 10:52
  • The use of the 'rather' is unrelated to the negativity of the statement. :)
    – MMJZ
    Mar 20, 2014 at 21:23
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The following quote about rather is from WordNet:

• on the contrary; "rather than disappoint the children, he did two quick tricks before he left"; "he didnt call; rather (or instead), he wrote her a letter"; "used English terms instead of Latin ones"

• to some (great or small) extent; "it was rather cold"; "the party was rather nice"; "the knife is rather dull"; "I rather regret that I cannot attend"; "Hes rather good at playing the cello"; "he is kind of shy"

• more readily or willingly; "clean it well, preferably with warm water"; "Id rather be in Philadelphia"; "Id sooner die than give up"

• to a degree (not used with a negative) "quite tasty"; "quite soon"; "quite ill"; "quite rich"

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  • Please, if you're going to quote something, remember to make it clear that it's a quote and give credit to the original source.
    – user230
    Mar 20, 2014 at 13:44

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