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From Middle English *bocli, from Old English bōclīċ (of or belonging to a book, scientific, biblical, scriptural), equivalent to book +‎ -ly. Cognate with Danish boglig (bookish), Swedish boklig (bookish, literary).


bookly (comparative booklier or more bookly, superlative bookliest or most bookly)

  1. Of or pertaining to books; literary.
    • 1919, Flora Warren Seymour, Bookfellows, The Step ladder: Volumes 1-5:
      As you received this and many other bookly treasures, all for the small annual fee of one dollar, [...]
    • 1920, George Steele Seymour, Adventures with books and autographs:
      But I shall not spoil for anyone the delight of discovering that most bookly of bookly books.
    • 1926, Henry Louis Mencken, The American mercury: Volume 9:
      Publishes books for bookly minded folk and THE STEP LADDER, a monthly journal of bookly ascent.
  2. Learned from books; bookish; by-the-book.
    • 1932, Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, Improvement era: Volume 36:
      He has with him his secretary, who speak the Spanish in a very bookly manner.