I need to say that Man that is looking like a tree. But not full sentence but only adjective. For example :

tree-like-looking man

... or something like this. Do you know how to use it correctly?

  • In very casual American English you could use "tree-looking man." (Actual "tree-looking guy" sounds more natural.) google.com/…
    – Adam
    Dec 19, 2014 at 15:56
  • Well there is a different problem here to me. I'm a native English speaker and I have no idea what that is supposed to mean. I've heard idioms like "bean pole" for tall and skinny and "barrel chested" and so on. but "tree like" just leaves me wondering. (I through in the pun for free...)
    – MaxW
    Oct 29, 2015 at 0:48

3 Answers 3


My recommendation would be to use the suffix -like, with a hyphen:

The tree-like man stood on the street corner.

If the word is already an established word, the hyphen is unnecessary:

My uncle Roger was a fatherlike figure to me.

but in the case of tree-like, I'd recommend a hyphen. (That's just personal preference, however; treelike could be used without a hyphen.)

Even though a man could be tree-like in many different ways (e.g, old like a tree, strong like a tree), I think looks like a tree would be the default assumption. Unless the context hints otherwise, I'd assume a tree-like man is a tree-like-looking man (that is, tall and slender). Appending the word -looking makes the phrase seem clumsily wordy, and I would opt to omit it.

  • +1 I like your answer - but I get the feeling you'd have to qualify it further - what tree? Oak, pine, willow - very different mental image. Edit now I'm thinking about it all I can see is a guy who always stands with his arms outstretched ;) Dec 19, 2014 at 19:46

Tolkien used the word "tree-ish" to describe characters that both looked and acted like trees.

The fourth chapter of The Two Towers is filled with descriptions of characters that have both "man-like" and "tree-ish" characteristics.

  • More specifically, I believe Tolkien was using "tree-ish" to describe Ents that were acting more like trees and less like Ents: Many of us are still true Ents, and lively enough in our fashion, but many are growing sleepy, going tree-ish, as you might say. Later: And of us three, Leaflock and Skinbark are not much use for hits business. Leaflock has grown sleepy, almost tree-ish..." (I'm not saying that tree-ish couldn't be used by the O.P. – it could, of course – but it's worth noting that tree-ish seems to have a more specialized meaning when Tolkien employs it among the Ents.)
    – J.R.
    Dec 20, 2014 at 10:05

No, tree-like-looking is not correct, because "looking" is redundant when you have "-like". To be tree-like means "to look (or act) like a tree".

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