From Middle English comly, cumly, cumlich, from Old English cymlīċ, cȳmlīċ (compare Old English cȳme (“fine, exquisite”), from Proto-Germanic *kūmiz (“delicate”)), from Proto-Germanic *kūmalīkaz (“pitiful, dear”). Cognate with Middle Dutch komlick, komelick, Middle High German komelīh, gomelīh.
- (dated, of a person) Pleasing or attractive to the eye.
- 1571, Roger Ascham, Toxophilus, the Schole, or Partitions, of Shooting. Contayned in II Bookes. […], imprinted at London, […]: By Thomas Marshe, OCLC 932903701; republished in The English Works of Roger Ascham, […], London: Printed for R[obert] and J[ames] Dodsley, […], and J[ohn] Newbery, […], 1761, OCLC 642424485, book 2, page 162:
- In ſhootinge at the prickes, haſtye and quicke drawinge is neyther ſure nor yet comely.
- (Can we date this quote by South and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
- He that is comely when old and decrepit, surely was very beautiful when he was young.
- 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], H[enry] Lawes, editor, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: […] [Comus], London: Printed [by Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, […], published 1637, OCLC 228715864; reprinted as Comus: […] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, OCLC 1113942837:
- Not once perceive their foul disfigurement / But boast themselves more comely than before.
- 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, chapter IX, in The Land That Time Forgot:
- The chief's name was To-jo, and his household consisted of seven females and himself. These women were much more comely, or rather less hideous than those of Tsa's people; one of them, even, was almost pretty, being less hairy and having a rather nice skin, with high coloring.
- (archaic) Suitable or becoming; proper; agreeable.
- c. 1608–1609, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene vi]:
- This is a happier and more comely time / Than when these fellows ran about the streets, / Crying confusion.