downright

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English, equivalent to down- +‎ right.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

downright (comparative more downright, superlative most downright)

  1. (obsolete) Directed vertically; coming straight down.
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 3, Act I, Scene 1,[1]
      Lord Stafford’s father, Duke of Buckingham,
      Is either slain or wounded dangerously;
      I cleft his beaver with a downright blow:
    • 1611, John Donne, An Anatomy of the World, London: Samuel Macham,[2]
      We thinke the heavens enjoy their Sphericall
      Their round proportion embracing all.
      But yet their various and perplexed course,
      Observ’d in divers ages doth enforce
      Men to finde out so many Eccentrique parts,
      Such divers downe-right lines, such overthwarts,
      As disproportion that pure forme. []
  2. Directly to the point; plain; unambiguous; unevasive.
    • 1728, Daniel Defoe, A System of Magick, Chapter 3, p. 314,[3]
      [] three Nights together he dreamt that he saw a Neighbouring Gentleman kissing his Mistress, and in downright English, lying with her.
    • 1907, George Witton, Scapegoats of the Empire: The True Story of Breaker Morant’s Bushveldt Carbineers, Chapter 5,[4]
      There were miners from Klondyke, hunters from the backwoods, troopers from the Northwest Frontier Police, and included were some of the “hardest cases” that the land of the maple leaf ever produced; these were past-masters in the use of unique expletives, and for downright and original profanity it would hardly be possible to find their equal.
    • 1920, Annie Shepley Omori and Kochi Doi, Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Translator’s Note,[5]
      English words and thought seem too downright a medium into which to render these evanescent, half-expressed sentences and poems—vague as the misty mountain scenery of her country, with no pronouns at all, and without verb inflections.
  3. Using plain direct language; accustomed to express opinions directly and bluntly; blunt.
    • 1776, Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, London: W. Strahan & T. Cadell, Volume 1, Book 2, Chapter 2, p. 396,[6]
      It bears the evident marks of having originally been, what the honest and downright Doctor Douglass assures us it was, a scheme of fraudulent debtors to cheat their creditors.
    • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, Volume 1, Chapter 4,[7]
      There is an openness, a quickness, almost a bluntness in Mr. Weston, which every body likes in him, because there is so much good-humour with it—but that would not do to be copied. Neither would Mr. Knightley’s downright, decided, commanding sort of manner, though it suits him very well; his figure, and look, and situation in life seem to allow it; but if any young man were to set about copying him, he would not be sufferable.
    • 1941, Emily Carr, Klee Wyck, Chapter 3,[8]
      The twisted trees and high tossed driftwood hinted that Skedans could be as thoroughly fierce as she was calm. She was downright about everything.
  4. Complete; absolute; utter; actual.
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, London: Edw. Dod & Nath. Ekins, 1650, Book I, Chapter 5, p. 13,[9]
      For although in that ancient and diffused adoration of Idols, unto the Priests and subtiler heads, the worship perhaps might be symbolicall, and as those Images some way related unto their deities; yet was the Idolatry direct and down-right in the people [] who may be made beleeve that any thing is God [] .
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Dublin: John Smith, Volume 3, Book 15, Chapter 3, p. 132,[10]
      ‘I see his Design,’ said she, ‘for he made downright Love to me Yesterday Morning; but as I am resolved never to admit it []
    • 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes, London: Seeley, 1903, Chapter 1,[11]
      The weather is raw and boisterous in winter, shifty and ungenial in summer, and a downright meteorological purgatory in the spring.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Adverb[edit]

downright (not comparable)

  1. Really; actually; quite; thoroughly; utterly.
    He wasn’t just cool to me, he was downright rude.
  2. (obsolete) Straight down; perpendicularly.
    • c. 1594, William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene 5,[14]
      When the sun sets, the air doth drizzle dew;
      But for the sunset of my brother's son
      It rains downright.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Chapter 36,[15]
      The three mates quailed before his strong, sustained, and mystic aspect. Stubb and Flask looked sideways from him; the honest eye of Starbuck fell downright.
  3. (obsolete) Plainly, unambiguously; directly.
  4. (obsolete) Without delay; at once.
    • 1712, John Arbuthnot, John Bull in His Senses: Being the Second Part of Law is a Bottomless-Pit, London: John Morphew, Chapter 2, p. 14,[18]
      The reading of this Paper put Mrs. Bull in such a Passion, that she fell downright into a Fit, and they were forc’d to give her a good quantity of the Spirit of Hartshorn before she recover’d.

See also[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

"Downright" is used to intensify or emphasize the following adjective, which usually refers to some negative quality.

Translations[edit]