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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. 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.

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. Worthy to be praised.