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From Middle English gamelich, from Old English gamelīc, gamenlīc (belonging to games, sportive, theatrical, ridiculous), equivalent to game +‎ -ly. Cognate with Middle High German gāmelich, gemelich (joyful).


gamely (comparative gamelier or more gamely, superlative gameliest or most gamely)

  1. Sportive; lively; joyful.
    • 2004, David Unger, Life in the damn tropics: a novel:
      That's what I wanted: a challenging race, a gamely fight.
    • 2004, Jose Luis Caivano, editor, AIC 2004 Color and Paints, Proceedings:
      This confirmed the penetration of the theoretical knowledge of color when it is taught using a gamely practice where the act of working come to be a pleasure.
    • 2005, Ross Eddy Osborn, Thorns of a Tainted Rose:
      "A worthy prospect, I must say." Sterling nodded. "I'll introduce you to Mr. Flynn, once we reach Orleans." Jack gasped like a man stabbed. "Would by chance your friend be a pale looking sort with a gamely laugh?" Sterling drew his head back.
    • 2009, Jillian Hunter, A Wicked Lord at the Wedding:
      Costumed as Whittington's beloved cat, in a knee-length black cloak that swirled around tight broadcloth trousers and jack boots, she trod the floor with a gamely dignity that cast all the requisite princesses and pretty shepherdesses in a pale light.
    • 2011, Amor Towles, Rules of Civility:
      Here was a sober young Harlemite in a gamely tilted bowler with a little French mustache.
  2. (hunting, fishing, etc.) Of or pertaining to game.
    • 1893, William Sweetzer Heywood, History of Westminster, Massachusetts:
      The black bass was strongly recommended as a gamely creature and as excellent for the table, and it was put into Meeting-house Pond.


gamely (comparative more gamely, superlative most gamely)

  1. (obsolete) Gaily; joyfully.
  2. In a game or plucky manner; in a willing and spirited fashion.
    • 2010 December 28, Marc Vesty, “Stoke 0 - 2 Fulham”, in BBC[1]:
      Stoke pressed gamely but clear chances were few and Fulham held on to record a first away league win in 16 months.
    • 2011, Harry Grigsby, Key Largo Adventures:
      Many of the other boats cut in, with their radios, to cheer Dick on, while he gamely fought the huge fish. The monster was continually stripping line off the reel, as Dick fought gamely; reeling for all he was worth!