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  • IPA(key): /ˈɡʊdli/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʊdli
  • Hyphenation: good‧ly

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English goodly, goodlich, gōdlich, from Old English gōdlīċ (good, goodly), from Proto-West Germanic *gōdalīk, from Proto-Germanic *gōdalīkaz (good, goodly); equivalent to good +‎ -ly. Cognate with Dutch goedelijk, goelijk (harmless, benign), German gütlich (friendly), Icelandic góðlegur (benign).


goodly (comparative goodlier, superlative goodliest)

  1. (dated) Good; pleasing in appearance; attractive; comely; graceful; pleasant; desirable.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book VI, Canto IX”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC:
      Her goodly thighs, whoſe glory did appear, / Like a triumphal Arch, []
    • c. 1596–1598 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii], page 166:
      The diuell can cite Scripture for his purpoſe, / An euill ſoule producing holy witneſſe, / Is like a villaine with a ſmiling cheeke, / A goodly apple rotten at the heart. / O what a goodly outſide falſehood hath.
    • 1866, Algernon Charles Swinburne, “A Ballad of Death”, in Poems and Ballads, lines 26–27:
      O Sin, thou knowest that all thy shame in her
      Was made a goodly thing.
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night:
      Then the prince left her and betook himself to the palace of the King his father, who rejoiced in his return and met him and welcomed him; and the Prince said to him, "Know that I have left her without the city in such a garden and come to tell thee, that thou mayst make ready the procession of estate and go forth to meet her and show her the royal dignity and troops and guards." Answered the King, "With joy and gladness"; and straightway bade decorate the town with the goodliest adornment.
  2. Quite large; considerable; sufficient; adequate; more than enough.
    a goodly sum of money
    walking at a goodly pace
    • 2014, Dilip D’souza, Final Test:
      Like any kid who played a game or two in school, I happened early on a golden rule: if I ate a goodly amount, I had better wait a goodly time before starting play—at least half an hour, preferably more.
    • 2014, Lael R. Neill, Sand Island Diaries:
      I am glad I brought a goodly supply of needlework with me. It's about all there is to do.
    • 2020 December 2, Paul Bigland, “My weirdest and wackiest Rover yet”, in Rail, page 66:
      After stopping at these stations, my train has become busy. Returning day-trippers make up a goodly number, along with young people heading for a night out in Bristol, which is where I change once again.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English goodly, goodliche, gōdliche, from Old English gōdlīċe (goodly), from the adjective; equivalent to good +‎ -ly. Cognate with Middle High German guotlīche, güetlīche.


goodly (comparative goodlier, superlative goodliest)

  1. (obsolete) In a goodly way; courteously, graciously.
  2. (dialectal or obsolete) Well; excellently.
    • a. 1599, Edmund Spenser, To the Earle of Cumberland:
      For love of vertue and of martial praise;
      To which though nobly ye inclined are,
      (As goodlie well ye shew'd in late assaies)
    • 2011, Dawn French, Dear Fatty:
      I know doin' marriage is tough and hard to pull off for a long time, but from what I has been led to believe, you two was doin' it quite goodly. As goodly as a huntin' shootin' fishin' filmin' drinkin' Englishy can do with a gyratin' pumpin' singin' lookin' wearinv Yankee-doodle icon. It was seemin' to be good together.