homely

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English homly, hoomly, hamely (domestic, familiar, plain), from Old English *hāmlīc (of the home, domestic), from Proto-West Germanic *haimalīk (of or characteristic of home), equivalent to home +‎ -ly. Cognate with Scots hamely (familiar, personal, private), West Frisian heimelik, Dutch heimelijk (secret, secretive, clandestine), German heimlich (secret, secretive, clandestine, undercover), Danish hemmelig (secret), Swedish hemlig (secret, concealed, privy, covert), Faroese heimligur (homelike, homey), Icelandic heimlegur (homely; worldly).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈhəʊmli/
  • (file)
  • (US) enPR: hōmʹlē, IPA(key): /ˈhoʊmli/
  • Rhymes: -əʊmli
  • Hyphenation: home‧ly

Adjective[edit]

homely (comparative homelier or more homely, superlative homeliest or most homely)

  1. Characteristic of, belonging to, or befitting a home; domestic, cozy. [from early 14th c.]
    • 1946, George Orwell, Politics and the English Language:
      An interesting illustration of this is the way in which the English flower names which were in use till very recently are being ousted by Greek ones, snapdragon becoming antirrhinum, forget-me-not becoming myosotis, etc. It is hard to see any practical reason for this change of fashion: it is probably due to an instinctive turning-away from the more homely word and a vague feeling that the Greek word is scientific.
    • 2014 January 5, “Mowgli's Cub”, in The Jungle Book:
      Mowgli: "Oh, don't worry Chota, it may not be homely, but I can warm it up."
  2. (Canada, US) Lacking in beauty or elegance, plain in appearance, physically unattractive.
    • 1692–1717, Robert South, Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), 6th edition, London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, OCLC 21766567:
      There is none so homely but loves a looking-glass.
    • 1932, Delos W. Lovelace, King Kong, published 1965, page 6:
      "I can't send a young, pretty girl, or for that matter even a homely one if you'd have her, on a job like this without telling her what to expect."
    • 1958, Vladimir Nabokov, chapter 15, in Lolita:
      You see, she sees herself as a starlet; I see her as a sturdy, healthy but decidedly homely kid.
    Antonym: comely
  3. (UK dialectal) On intimate or friendly terms with (someone); familiar; at home (with a person); intimate.
  4. (UK dialectal, of animals) Domestic; tame.
  5. (UK dialectal) Personal; private.
  6. (UK dialectal) Friendly; kind; gracious; cordial.
  7. (India) Conservative and family-oriented.
    I am seeking a beautiful homely girl for marriage.
  8. (archaic) Simple; plain; familiar; unelaborate; unadorned. [from late 14th c.]
    a homely garment
    homely fare
    homely manners
    • 1731, Alexander Pope, Strephon and Chloe, Lines 211-212:
      Now Strephon daily entertains
      His Chloe in the homeliest strains.
    • 2001, Sydney I. Landau, Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 167:
      There is no simple way to define precisely a complex arrangement of parts, however homely the object may appear to be.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Adverb[edit]

homely

  1. Alternative form of homly

Adjective[edit]

homely

  1. Alternative form of homly