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c. 1400s, from sound +‎ -ly. Originally meaning "safely", the present sense came in the 16th century.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈsaʊnd.lɪ/
  • (file)


soundly (comparative more soundly, superlative most soundly)

  1. In a thorough manner; in manner free of defect or deficiency.
    He was soundly thrashed by the semi-professional boxer.
    • 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i]:
      Prospero: Let them be hunted ſoundly : []
    • 1899, William George Aston, A History of Japanese Literature, page 272:
      The wedding company, fatigued with their enjoyment of the previous night, slept soundly late into the next morning.
    • 1911, L. D. Biagi, The Centaurians, Ch. I:
      My gold carried little weight with him, he was sincerely fond of me and consequently rated me soundly for all indiscretions, declaring I would regret wasting the best years of my life and deadening my vast talents []



Further reading[edit]

  • soundly” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.