kind·​ly | \ ˈkīn(d)-lē How to pronounce kindly (audio) \
kindlier; kindliest

Definition of kindly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of a sympathetic or generous nature
2 : of an agreeable or beneficial nature : pleasant a kindly climate
3a obsolete : natural
b archaic : lawful



Definition of kindly (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : readily did not take kindly to suggestions
b : in the normal way : naturally old wounds which had healed kindlyAmer. Mercury
2a : in a kind manner : sympathetically
b : as a gesture of goodwill would take it kindly if you would put in a good word
c : in a gracious manner : courteously they kindly invited us along
d : as a matter of courtesy : please would you kindly order me a cab
3 chiefly Southern : somewhat, kind of it's kindly embarrassing— Walter Davis

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Examples of kindly in a Sentence

Adjective A kindly woman helped him find his way home. brought homemade chicken soup out of kindly concern for my health Adverb She always treats animals kindly. They kindly offered to help us.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Alex Wyndham narrates this revelatory, amusing, often poignant amalgam of science and family history in a dark, undulant baritone, a voice that could be that of a big, kindly eel. Katherine Powers, Washington Post, "Three audiobooks to listen to now," 6 July 2020 Other than those responsible for his continued detention, few Turks understand exactly why Mr Kavala, a kindly, quiet man with a love of the arts, ended up in the government’s crosshairs. The Economist, "Snails in a cell A new mini-opera pays tribute to one of Turkey’s political prisoners," 29 June 2020 Apart from the usual crudeness of Trump’s rhetoric, this picture of Biden as the kindly face of the Red Terror doesn’t make much sense. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "Biden, Sanders, and Trump, After Super Tuesday," 8 Mar. 2020 My late father, a kindly internist with a deep Southern drawl and the improbable name of Dr. Tom Fite Paine, guided my 1950s and ’60s childhood with polite rules intended to counteract the spread of contagious illnesses. Grace Paine Terzian, WSJ, "A Car Key Can Save You From the Virus," 9 Mar. 2020 Upon arrival in Alaska, Buck is quickly scooped up by a kindly French Canadian couple (played by Omar Sy and Cara Gee) looking to replace a dog on their Yukon mail delivery team. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "'The Call of the Wild' offers Harrison Ford, cool CGI dogs and Alaska's natural beauty," 19 Feb. 2020 His job proves exhausting and dispiriting over the years, but his kindly boss comes through with a retirement pension. Sarah Ruden, National Review, "Living Virtuously and Writing Well," 23 Jan. 2020 The kindly vet hadn’t come prepared for this drastic action. V. S. Naipaul, The New Yorker, "The Strangeness of Grief," 30 Dec. 2019 But this week, the kindly image CGL had crafted in its P.R. campaign fell away to make the company’s colonial prerogatives clear. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Colonizer Always Comes Out," 17 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Kyrgios, who has stood firm on his coronavirus stance since the start of the pandemic, did not take kindly to the comment and took to social media to have his say. Ben Church, CNN, "Tennis star Nick Kyrgios slams Dominic Thiem for defending players at the controversial Adria Tour," 8 July 2020 The first experiment sought to discover to what extent participants were already primed to expect women to be treated more kindly, but with less directness, in a professional setting. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "New evidence suggests women get kinder, less honest feedback at work," 30 June 2020 If someone in your children's world does pass away from Covid-19, be sure to tell them honestly, kindly, clearly and simply. Robyn Silverman, CNN, "Goodbye, Grandpa: An expert guide to talking to kids about death during Covid," 30 June 2020 As expected, investors took kindly to the news, and bank stocks shot up on Thursday afternoon—at least until the Fed spoiled the party. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "Big banks are at a crossroads: Safe enough to skirt some regulation, but risky enough to stress out the Fed," 27 June 2020 But most of the narratives are steeped in danger; whether from nature, native populations who don’t take kindly to visitors, sickness, or sheer recklessness. Washington Post, "Amid the pandemic, a writer finds inspiration in century-old travel stories," 26 June 2020 For him that’s going nuclear and no one looks kindly on the one who drops the bomb. Shannon Carlin,, "The Politician Season 2 Binge Club Recap: Episodes 1-7," 24 June 2020 Ben smiles kindly, and Iris can’t tell if the aunt smiles back. Clare Sestanovich, Harper's Magazine, "Annunciation," 23 June 2020 History is familiar with this trick and does not look kindly on it. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "“I Didn’t Know” Is Not a Defense for Enabling Trump," 12 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kindly.' 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 kindly


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for kindly


Middle English, from Old English cyndelīc, from cynd

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Time Traveler for kindly

Time Traveler

The first known use of kindly was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

14 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Kindly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for kindly


How to pronounce kindly (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of kindly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others



English Language Learners Definition of kindly (Entry 2 of 2)

: in a kind way
used to make a formal request sometimes used in making a request that is caused by annoyance


kind·​ly | \ ˈkīnd-lē How to pronounce kindly (audio) \
kindlier; kindliest

Kids Definition of kindly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : pleasant or wholesome in nature The cool and kindly breath of evening entered through doors and windows.— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web

Other Words from kindly

kindliness noun



Kids Definition of kindly (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : in a sympathetic manner The principal treated him kindly.
2 : in a willing manner We didn't take kindly to the change in schedule.
3 : in an appreciative manner I would take it kindly if you could help me.
4 : in an obliging manner Would you kindly take your seat?

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More from Merriam-Webster on kindly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kindly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kindly

Spanish Central: Translation of kindly

Nglish: Translation of kindly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kindly for Arabic Speakers

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