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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Nevertheless, in his best work Mr. Shaw transforms the inherently homely into something beautiful. Peter Plagens, WSJ, "‘George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field’ Review: Solid, Quietly Poetic and Gently Political," 3 Oct. 2018 Metal images tend to predominate in studies of early photography, thanks to their relative ubiquity, physical durability, and the literal brilliance of the daguerreotype and its homelier cousin the tintype. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "At Yale: on the threshold and under the volcano," 6 July 2018 Meatloaf can be a a homely dish, but give your next recipe a makeover by baking it in a Bundt pan. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, "6 ways to use a Bundt pan you probably haven’t tried," 20 June 2018 Practical sports sedans such as the WRX and Honda's similarly boosted (and even more homely) Civic Type R four-door hatchback are what's in vogue these days. Daniel Miller, latimes.com, "Nissan 370Z is a sports car anachronism — a fast one," 30 Mar. 2018 Alcott appeased Niles, the publisher, by writing in Professor Friedrich Bhaer, a homely German professor, as a husband. Washington Post, "‘Little Women’ and author Alcott resonate 150 years later," 12 June 2018 The homely feeling went beyond her travel softball memories. Andrew Turner, latimes.com, "Locals bring home memories from O.C. Softball Coaches All-Star Classic," 6 June 2018 These historical poems have a homely, unvarnished sort of grace. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "Scorching, Sophisticated New Work From Two of America’s Leading Poets," 16 Apr. 2018 Take the homely building in Tarnogród, Poland that used to be the city’s Jewish synagogue but was converted after the Holocaust into a library and community center—the sad fate of many other synagogues across Eastern Europe. Michael Hardy, WIRED, "The Spectacular Wonders of Europe's Libraries," 6 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of homely

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near homely



home loan





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Time Traveler for homely

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on homely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for homely

Spanish Central: Translation of homely

Nglish: Translation of homely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of homely for Arabic Speakers

Comments on homely

What made you want to look up homely? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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