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From name +‎ -ly.



namely ‎(not comparable)

  1. (now rare) Especially, above all.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter xj, in Le Morte Darthur, book VIII:
      THus was sir Tramtryst longe there wel cherysshed / with the kynge and the quene / and namely with la beale Isoud / So vpon a daye / the quene and la beale Isoud made a bayne for syre Tramtryst / And whan he was in his bayne / the quene and Isoud her doughter romed vp & doune in the chamber
  2. Specifically; that is to say.
    I asked a friend, namely, Paul.
    There are three ways to do it, namely, the right way, the wrong way and the Army way.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Tragedy in Dartmoor Terrace[1]:
      “The story of this adoption is, of course, the pivot round which all the circumstances of the mysterious tragedy revolved. Mrs. Yule had an only son, namely, William, to whom she was passionately attached ; but, like many a fond mother, she had the desire of mapping out that son's future entirely according to her own ideas. [].

Usage notes[edit]

A synonymous expression is the use of colon—":", as in "There are three ways to do it: the right way, the wrong way []."

Considered a dependent clause, a comma should follow the expression and either a semicolon or comma should precede it, depending on the strength of the break in continuity. "Namely" can thus almost be considered a conjunction.