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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of kindly in a Sentence


A kindly woman helped him find his way home. brought homemade chicken soup out of kindly concern for my health


She always treats animals kindly. They kindly offered to help us.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Dan meets grandma Lea in her hometown of Vienna, which proves less wrenching than the kindly nonagenarian expects. Gary Goldstein,, "Review: Israelis moving to Europe face family conflict in ‘Back to the Fatherland’," 26 June 2019 Brian Tyree Henry once again makes the most of his small role as a kindly cop. Mark Kennedy, Detroit Free Press, "New ‘Child’s Play’ full of seriously scary fun," 20 June 2019 At intervals, the cool, kindly voice of Olivecrona broke in, explaining, reassuring, and Karinthy’s apprehension was replaced by calm and curiosity. Simon Callow, The New York Review of Books, "Truth, Beauty, and Oliver Sacks," 6 June 2019 Alone, Zain wanders the streets of Beirut, and eventually encounters a kindly worker, Rahil, at an amusement park, who takes pity on him and brings him home. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "In Capernaum, Nadine Labaki Visits Some of the Most Miserable Places on Earth—And Turns It Into Art," 14 Dec. 2018 Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti Photo: HBO Elena confronts the same problem, only in this case the bitter objections to advanced schooling for a daughter don’t come from her father, a kindly man who works at the city hall. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘My Brilliant Friend’ Review: Mindful Storytelling," 15 Nov. 2018 His role as a kindly motel manager in The Florida Project netted him his third Best Supporting Actor nomination at last year’s Oscars. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "How Willem Dafoe learned to paint like Vincent Van Gogh," 14 Nov. 2018 Post after post details how a kindly camper owner has cleaned, flushed, and added holding tank deodorant—yet, much to their dismay, a noxious smell still permeates their home on wheels. Megan Barber, Curbed, "RV toilets: Why I’ll never have a bathroom in my camper," 1 Nov. 2018 Who could turn down a kindly war widow collecting nickels or dimes? Shaun Assael, Glamour, "The Secret Fight to Save Confederate Monuments," 16 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The gods loom large throughout the story, from earth mother Asaka (charismatic Leslie Ivy) to Erzulie, goddess of love (kindly Natalie Oei). Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: Sunny songs, brutal story — that ‘s ‘Once on this Island’ in El Cerrito," 5 July 2019 Your discretion in this matter is kindly requested for the sake of our children during this time of transition. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Hallmark Star Rachael Leigh Cook Is Separating From Her Husband Daniel Gillies," 15 June 2019 Maybe a trip to the countryside will help the family unite, but Max is a city pup and some of these farmyard critters don’t take kindly to a furry foreigner. Guy Hanford, Ramona Sentinel, "Flickers: ‘Child’s Play’ and ‘Toy Story 4’ open Friday," 20 June 2019 In the comments, Mendes so kindly revealed the official name of this ship: CharMila. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "The Camila Mendes & Charles Melton Relationship Timeline You Deserve," 15 May 2019 Most bosses don't take kindly to employees searching through their private documents. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "A Quick Recap of Killing Eve Season One, Before the Hit Show Returns," 5 Apr. 2019 But Zinke, a former House Republican, didn’t take kindly to the Democrats’ fighting words, responding with a personal attack against Grijalva — who’s been known to be a regular at a Capitol Hill neighborhood bar, Tune Inn. Tara Golshan, Vox, "A top Democrat said he plans to investigate Ryan Zinke in Congress. Zinke called him a drunk.," 30 Nov. 2018 The fact is that some people are very affectionate and some aren’t, and those who aren’t need to let those who are know it by kindly telling them so. WSJ, "Joe Biden: Being in Touch Without Touching," 12 Apr. 2019 Throughout the night Chopra kindly shared all the backstage action with fans through her Instagram Stories, from the line outside the venue to showgoers sending well-wishes to her husband, Nick. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Priyanka Chopra Went to Her First Jonas Brothers Concert and Documented the Whole Thing," 31 Mar. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about kindly

Statistics for kindly

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kindly

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for kindly



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?

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on kindly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kindly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kindly

Spanish Central: Translation of kindly

Nglish: Translation of kindly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kindly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on kindly

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


characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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