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 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, "Smugglers sold thousands of protected “living rock” cacti, found only in the Big Bend," 12 June 2020 These are homely examples of a profound issue that haunts both science and the human condition: the specter of local maxima. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "Good Enough Versus Even Better," 30 Apr. 2020 Theodosia seemed one of those maimed or homely people who—feeling themselves unimprovable—make a militant point of glaring you down. Allan Gurganus, The New Yorker, "The Wish for a Good Young Country Doctor," 27 Apr. 2020 Rotten row, Hog lane, Crabtree street, Peacock street, Shoe lane, and others equally as absurd, which had their origin in this way, and which generally retain their homely names even though their neighborhoods become aristocratic. New York Times, "‘The Address Book,’ by Deirdre Mask: An Excerpt," 14 Apr. 2020 This would-be foe of COVID-19 is as big and homely as a semi-trailer. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan soldiers set to use giant oven in the war on COVID-19," 13 Apr. 2020 Peeling them was a struggle, and they were left looking pockmarked and homely. Washington Post, "Yes, there is an art to the perfectly peeled egg," 23 Sep. 2019 Some of the most arresting passages are about the warmth of family life: homely activities like pickling cabbages together or cooking dumplings. Diana Preston, Washington Post, "An elite Chinese family, ensnared in the Cultural Revolution," 6 Mar. 2020 Sartore treats all creatures—great and small, handsome and homely—with reverence. Elizabeth Kolbert, National Geographic, "What we lose when animals go extinct," 25 Sep. 2019

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

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

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Time Traveler for homely

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for homely

Last Updated

21 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Homely.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homely. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for homely


How to pronounce homely (audio)

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

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