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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English kyndely, kyndeliche, from Old English cyndelīċ (natural, kindly); equivalent to kind +‎ -ly.


kindly (comparative kindlier, superlative kindliest)

  1. Having a kind personality; kind, warmhearted, sympathetic.
    A kindly old man sits on the park bench every afternoon feeding pigeons.
    • 1850, [Alfred, Lord Tennyson], In Memoriam, London: Edward Moxon, [], →OCLC, canto LXVI, page 91:
      The shade by which my life was crost, [] Has made me kindly with my kind
    • 2021 July 28, Christian Wolmar, “Forgotten by the railways, but ripe for the exploring”, in RAIL, number 936, page 34:
      This was the first long train journey I ever took, and the details remain in my memory as sharply as if they had taken place last week. Hopping on the Circle Line to King's Cross, boarding the compartmentalised train, the kindly ticket inspectors, and every station where the Grimsby express stopped (in those days it didn't go through to Cleethorpes).
  2. (dated) Favourable, gentle, pleasant, tidy, auspicious, beneficent.
  3. (archaic) Lawful.
  4. (obsolete) Natural; inherent to the kind or race.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English kyndly, kyndely, kyndeliche, kundeliche, from Old English ġecyndelīċe, equivalent to kind +‎ -ly.


kindly (comparative kindlier or more kindly, superlative kindliest or most kindly)

  1. In a kind manner, out of kindness.
    He kindly offered to take us to the station in his car.
  2. In a favourable way.
    • 2011 October 29, Neil Johnston, “Norwich 3 - 3 Blackburn”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Aguero was quick to block Hennessey's attempted clearance and the ball bounced kindly to Dzeko, who had the simplest of tasks to put City ahead.
  3. Used to make a polite request: please.
    Kindly refrain from walking on the grass.
    Kindly move your car out of the front yard.
    • a. 1770s, Traditional (lyrics and music), “Seven Drunken Nights ”, performed by The Dubliners:
      Well, I called me wife and I said to her: Will you kindly tell to me / Who owns that horse outside the door where my old horse should be?
  4. (US) With kind acceptance; used with take.
    I don't take kindly to threats.
    Aunt Daisy didn't take it kindly when we forgot her anniversary.
  5. (dialectal) Kind of, somewhat.
  6. (archaic) Readily.
  7. (obsolete) Naturally.
Usage notes[edit]
  • (please): Kindly is used in a slightly more peremptory way than please. It is generally used to introduce a request with which the person addressed is expected to comply, and takes the edge off what would otherwise be a command.
  • (with kind acceptance): This sense is a negative polarity item; it is usually found in questions and negative statements, as in the above example sentences.
Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]