home·​ly | \ ˈhōm-lē How to pronounce homely (audio) \
homelier; homeliest

Definition of homely

1 : suggestive or characteristic of a place of residence or home
2 : being something familiar with which a person is comfortable and at ease : comfortable and familiar like home satisfy themselves with houses, furniture, books and clothes that were worn and homely and friendly to the touch— Brendan Gill
3a : free from affectation : unaffectedly natural : simple plain, homely prose
b : not elaborate or complex homely virtues
4 : plain or unattractive in appearance a homely face he's a bit homely

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from homely

homeliness noun

Examples of homely in a Sentence

She has a homely face. He's a bit homely but nice. the homely appeal of farm life
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Like his singing voice, guitarist Thompson's memoir of finding his way as a pioneering folk-rocker is homely in the best British way: inviting, down to earth and honest. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 May 2021 The aesthetics are somewhere on the continuum between homely and anonymous. Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2021 The website had a homely, almost slapdash design with a light blue banner and a strange name: Slate Star Codex. New York Times, 8 Feb. 2021 Firth wasn't the only one sweating over the homely masterpiece. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, 17 Nov. 2020 But in a narrow strip of grass behind a homely, 1960s-era building, forest geneticist Jennifer Koch was overseeing a hive of activity. Gabriel Popkin, Science | AAAS, 12 Nov. 2020 Might other filmmakers not cut their losses and switch their loyalties to the small screen—that homely and unmysterious shrine, where nobody needs to sanitize? Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 3 Sep. 2020 Still, the 45-year-old star perfectly demonstrates how summer outfits don't always have to be so homely or cutesy. Barry Samaha, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 July 2020 Even Jumper, a veteran agent more accustomed to investigating wildlife cases, finds himself a bit sentimental about the homely little cacti. John Maccormack, ExpressNews.com, 12 June 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of homely

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for homely

Middle English homly, homely "belonging to a household, used at home, close, intimate, meek, tame, common, unattractive," from hom home entry 1 + -ly -ly entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About homely

Time Traveler for homely

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for homely

Last Updated

29 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Homely.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homely. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for homely



English Language Learners Definition of homely

US : not pretty or handsome : plain or unattractive
British : plain and simple in an appealing or pleasant way


home·​ly | \ ˈhōm-lē How to pronounce homely (audio) \
homelier; homeliest

Kids Definition of homely

1 : not pretty or handsome a homely face
2 : suggesting home life homely comforts … there it was, a plain, homely little house …— Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!