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From Middle English inly and inliche (adverb), from Old English inlīc (adj), inlīċe (adverb), corresponding to in +‎ -ly.




  1. (obsolete) Inward; interior; secret.
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act II, Scene 7, [1]
      Didst thou but know the inly touch of love / Thou wouldst as soon go kindle fire with snow / As seek to quench the fire of love with words.


inly (comparative more inly, superlative most inly)

  1. (now rare) Inwardly, within; internally; secretly.
    • 1611, William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene 1,
      I have inly wept, / Or should have spoke ere this.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Second Edition, Book XI, 441-4,
      His offering soon propitious fire from heaven / Consumed with nimble glance, and grateful steam; / The other's not, for his was not sincere; / Whereat he inly raged,
    • 1738, Paul Gerhard, "Thou Hidden Love of God," translated by John Wesley, in The Wesleyan Methodist Hymn Book, London, 1869, p.325, [2]
      Thou hidden love of God, whose height, / Whose depth unfathom'd no man knows; I see from far they beauteous light, / Inly I sigh for thy repose:
    • 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Vol. II, Chapter XXXV, [3]
      His heart inly relented,—there was a conflict,—but sin got the victory, and he set all the force of his rough nature against the conviction of his conscience.
    • 1852, Matthew Arnold, "Human Life" in The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840-1867, Oxford University Press, 1909, lines 1-6 [4]
      What mortal, when he saw, / Life's voyage done, his heavenly Friend, / Could ever yet dare tell him fearlessly: / 'I have kept uninfring'd my nature's law; / The inly-written chart thou gavest me / To guide me, I have steer'd by to the end'?
    • 1909, Thomas Hardy, "The Flirt's Tragedy" in Time's Laughingstocks and Other Verses, London: Macmillan & Co., 1928, [5]
      Thus tempted, the lust to avenge me / Germed inly and grew.
    • 1914, Rabindranath Tagore, The King of the Dark Chamber, New York: Macmillan, p. 132, [6]
      A mighty forest inly smokes and smoulders before it bursts into a conflagration:
  2. (obsolete) Heartily, completely, fully, thoroughly; extremely.