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From Middle English timely, tymely, timliche, from Old English *tīmlīc (adj) and tīmlīċe (in good time; timely; soon, adverb), equivalent to time +‎ -ly. Cognate with Danish timelig, Swedish timlig, Icelandic tímalegur, tímanlegur.



timely (comparative timelier, superlative timeliest)

  1. Done at the proper time.
  2. Happening or appearing at the proper time.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      The timely dew of sleep.
    • 2011 October 20, Jamie Lillywhite, “Tottenham 1 - 0 Rubin Kazan”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      The athletic Walker, one of Tottenham's more effective attacking elements with his raids from right-back, made a timely intervention after Rose had been dispossessed and even Aaron Lennon was needed to provide an interception in the danger zone to foil another attempt by the Russians.
  3. (obsolete) Keeping time or measure.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)



Derived terms[edit]



timely (comparative more timely, superlative most timely)

  1. (archaic) In good time; early, quickly.
    • 2000, George RR Martin, A Storm of Swords, Bantam 2011, p. 587:
      ‘If I had been born more timely, he said, Rhaegar would have married me instead of Elia, and it would all have come out different.’
  2. (obsolete) At the right time; seasonably.
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica:
      And this we shall more readily perform, if we timely survey our knowledge, impartially singling out those encroachments, which junior compliance and popular credulity hath admitted.

See also[edit]

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of tymely