From Middle English manly, manli, manlich, from Old English *manlīċ, *mannlīċ (suggested by adverb manlīċe, mannlīċe (“in a manly way; stately”)), from Proto-Germanic *mannlīkaz (“manly”), equivalent to man + -ly. Cognate with Old High German manlīh (“manly”) (German männlich), Dutch mannelijk, Old Norse mannligr (“human”) (Danish mandlig, Swedish manlig).
- Having the characteristics of a man.
- Having qualities befitting a man; courageous, resolute, noble.
- c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene iii]:
- Let's briefly put on manly readiness.
- 1693, Decimus Junius Juvenalis; John Dryden, transl., “[The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis.] The Fifteenth Satyr”, in The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis. Translated into English Verse. […] Together with the Satires of Aulus Persius Flaccus. […], London: Printed for Jacob Tonson […], OCLC 80026745:
- Serene and manly, harden'd to sustain / The load of life.
- 2001, Thomas W. Smith, Revaluing Ethics: Aristotle's Dialectical Pedagogy (page 86)
- Without a successful defense of one's city, none of the other virtues would be possible; manly courage seems to be a precondition for anything else worth achieving in life.