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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English kyngly, from Old English *cyninglīċ (kingly, royal), equivalent to king +‎ -ly. Cognate with Dutch koninklijk (kingly, royal), German königlich (kingly), Swedish kunglig (kingly). Compare also Old English cynelīċ (kingly, royal, public).


kingly (comparative kinglier, superlative kingliest)

  1. (not comparable) Of or belonging to a king or kings; exercised by a king.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, Act III, Scene 1, [1]
      O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile / In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch / A watch-case or a common 'larum-bell?
    • 1701, Jonathan Swift, A Discourse of the Contests and Dissensions between the Nobles and the Commons in Athens and Rome, Chapter IV, in The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, edited by John Nichols, London: J. Johnson, 1801, Vol. 2, pp. 328-9 [2]
      But in Sparta, which was called a kingly government, though the people were perfectly free, yet because the administration was in the two kings and the ephori, with the assistance of the senate, we read of no impeachments by the people;
    • 1782, William Cowper, "Table Talk," [3]
      Leave kingly backs to cope with kingly cares; They have their weight to carry, subjects theirs;
  2. Characteristic of kings, majestic, regal; as befits a king, in the manner of a king.
    • 1580s, Philip Sidney, The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, London: Simon Waterson, 1613, Book 2, p. 159, [4]
      For then she sets foorth the liberty of his mind, the high flying of his thoughts, the fitnesse in him to beare rule, the singular loue the subiects bare him; that it was doubtful, whether his wit were greater in winning their fauours, or his courage in imploying their fauours: that he was not borne to liue a subiect-life, each action of his bearing in it Maiestie, such a kingly entertainement, such a kingly magnificence, such a kingly heart for enterprises: especially remembring those vertues, which in successor are no more honored by the subiects, then suspected of the Princes.
    • 1854, Gerald Massey, "The Kingliest Kings" in Poems and Ballads, New York: J.C. Derby, p. 92, [5]
      Tho' trouble-tried, and torture-torn, / The kingliest Kings are crown'd with thorn.
    • 1938, Norman Lindsay, Age of Consent, Sydney: Ure Smith, published 1962, page 138:
      As for Bradly, he reclined in kingly ease, smoking austerely, and ejecting a grunt at intervals into her narrative, confessing an interest in it.
    • 1951, C. S. Lewis, Prince Caspian, Collins, 1998, Chapter 7,
      Never had sleep been more refreshing nor food tasted more savory, and he began already to harden and his face wore a kinglier look.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English kyngly, from Old English *cyninglīċe (kingly, royally), equivalent to king +‎ -ly. Compare Old English cynelīċe (kingly, royally, publicly).


kingly (comparative more kingly, superlative most kingly)

  1. In a royal manner.