come·​ly | \ ˈkəm-lē also ˈkōm- or ˈkäm- How to pronounce comely (audio) \
comelier; comeliest

Definition of comely

1 : pleasurably conforming to notions of good appearance, suitability, or proportion Going in with him, they observed that all was neat and comely— Willa Cather
2 : having a pleasing appearance : not homely or plain a comely young woman

Other Words from comely

comeliness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for comely

beautiful, lovely, handsome, pretty, comely, fair mean exciting sensuous or aesthetic pleasure. beautiful applies to whatever excites the keenest of pleasure to the senses and stirs emotion through the senses. beautiful mountain scenery lovely is close to beautiful but applies to a narrower range of emotional excitation in suggesting the graceful, delicate, or exquisite. a lovely melody handsome suggests aesthetic pleasure due to proportion, symmetry, or elegance. a handsome Georgian mansion pretty often applies to superficial or insubstantial attractiveness. a painter of conventionally pretty scenes comely is like handsome in suggesting what is coolly approved rather than emotionally responded to. the comely grace of a dancer fair suggests beauty because of purity, flawlessness, or freshness. fair of face

Comely Has a Broad and Beautiful History

Although comely is now typically used to describe the appearance of human beings, it was once used more broadly of other appealing things, such as fine clothing. Comely can be traced back to Old English words variously meaning "glorious," "lively," or "fine." If you are looking to pretty up your prose or poetry with additional words meaning "beautiful," English is well-supplied with them. Aside from beautiful itself, we have lovely, handsome, pretty, fair, good-looking, gorgeous, ravishing, and even well-favored.

Examples of comely in a Sentence

a brood of comely children that any parent would be proud to claim
Recent Examples on the Web The comely stars, who are excellent at trolling each other online, are already parents to daughters James, 4, and Inez, 2. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2019 Furthermore, the plant is topped by comely flowers, which in time proudly adorned the button-holes of no less than Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, in their day intentionally marketing the potato to a then-skeptical proletariat. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, 9 Oct. 2019 Drinks were served downstairs, dinner upstairs, and the comely belly dancers oscillated between the two. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, 4 Feb. 2019 With the help of Margaret Bonelli, Cirese planned to transform Sabella over the winter from a disheveled and foreign woman into a comely American mother. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Woman's Day, 12 May 2017 This redesigned Traverse is a comely critter that’s lighter, easier on gas, peppier, and roomier than its predecessor. Al Haas,, 7 June 2018 The contest regularly posted photos and brief bios of comely winners on trains from 1941 until 1976, and then sporadically. Don Oldenburg, USA TODAY, 30 Apr. 2018 While at a fashion show with his son, the elder Donald spotted a comely young model on the runway and in possibly the most embarrassing dad move ever, decided to play matchmaker. Julianne Pepitone, Town & Country, 11 July 2017 Like its comely skin and handsome 18-inch alloy wheels, the SL’s roomy interior was quite pleasing. Al Haas,, 2 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'comely.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of comely

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for comely

Middle English comly, alteration of Old English cȳmlic glorious, from cȳme lively, fine; akin to Old High German kūmig weak

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Time Traveler for comely

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The first known use of comely was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Comely.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for comely



English Language Learners Definition of comely

: pleasing in appearance : pretty or attractive


come·​ly | \ ˈkəm-lē How to pronounce comely (audio) \
comelier; comeliest

Kids Definition of comely

: physically attractive

More from Merriam-Webster on comely

Nglish: Translation of comely for Spanish Speakers


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