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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English lovely, luvelich, lufli, from Old English luflīc ‎(amiable, loving, lovable), equivalent to love +‎ -ly.


lovely ‎(comparative lovelier, superlative loveliest)

  1. Beautiful; charming; very pleasing in form, looks, tone, or manner.
    It's a lovely day and the sun is shining.
    The music box plays a lovely melody.
    The castle garden enchants visitors with its lovely blooms.
    • Robert of Brunne
      Not one so fair of face, of speech so lovely.
  2. Very nice, wonderful.
    It would be lovely to have a little more money to spend.
  3. (obsolete) Inspiring love or friendship; amiable.
    • Shakespeare
      a most lovely gentlemanlike man
  4. (obsolete) Loving, filled with love.
    • Chaucer
      Many a lovely look on them he cast.
    • Shakespeare
      a lovely kiss
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
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lovely ‎(plural lovelies)

  1. (informal) An attractive, lovely person, especially a (professional) beauty.
    a calendar depicting young lovelies in bikinis
  2. Term of fond address.
    Goodbye, my lovely.
  3. A lovely object.
    • 2011, Theodora Floros, What'S for Lunch?: A Cooking Guide for Parents, ISBN 1462899854, page 13:
      In Montréal, the summer months bring in a huge variety of fruits and vegetables and this is the time to preserve them. Preserving can also refer to the storage of these fiber and vitamin rich lovelies.
    • 2015, Marlys Millhiser, The Mirror, ISBN 1504010183:
      May Bell ironed the last ruffle and then hung the dress in the wardrobe next to her other lovelies.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English lovely, loflik, from Old English loflīc ‎(fit to be praised, laudable), equivalent to lofe +‎ -ly. Cognate with Dutch loffelijk ‎(laudable, praiseworthy), German löblich ‎(commendable, laudable, praiseworthy), Swedish lovlig ‎(permissible). More at lofe, love.


lovely ‎(comparative lovelier or more lovely, superlative loveliest or most lovely)

  1. (archaic) (Can we verify(+) this sense?) Worthy of praise.
    • 1773, Thomas Boston (the Elder.), ‎Alexander Colden, The Whole Works of the late reverend and learned Mr. Thomas Boston, Minister of the Gospel at Etterick:
      And so he is in the eyes of all who live to his praise. To them every attribute of God is lovely. The holiness and purity of his nature is most lovely to them.
    • 1807, Erasmus Middleton, Evangelical biography:
      He is altogether lovely. O, all our praises of him are poor and low things!
    • 1823, Church of England, Llyfr gweddi gyffredin:
      О praise the Lord, for the Lord is gracious : О sing praises unto his Name, for it is lovely.
    • 1834, David Dickson, A Brief Explication of the Psalms - Volume 1, page 39:
      It is the duty of all believers to join themselves cheerfully in the setting forth the Lord's care over them, and whatsoever may make his lovely Majesty known to the world: for so he requireth the present precept and example, -- sing praises to the Lord.
    • 1876, ‎John Vaughan, Trinity hymns for the worship of the three-one Jehovah in faith & love:
      My precious Saviour's matchless name ; He's wise and holy, just and true, And altogether lovely too.