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From Middle English hiȝly, heȝly, heyȝliche, from Old English hēalīce (highly), equivalent to high +‎ -ly. Cognate with Dutch hoogelijk (highly), German höchlich (highly), Danish højlig (highly), Swedish högligen (highly).


  • IPA(key): /ˈhaɪli/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪli


highly (comparative highlier or more highly, superlative highliest or most highly)

  1. In a high or esteemed manner.
    He spoke highly of you.
  2. Extremely; greatly; very much.
    He is in a highly visible job.
    • 2013 May-June, David Van Tassel, Lee DeHaan, “Wild Plants to the Rescue”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3:
      Plant breeding is always a numbers game. [] The wild species we use are rich in genetic variation, and individual plants are highly heterozygous and do not breed true. In addition, we are looking for rare alleles, so the more plants we try, the better.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The adverb highly and the adverb high should notbe confused.
    This is certainly highly recommended.
    The stars were shining high above us.

Derived terms[edit]


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