man·​ly | \ ˈman-lē How to pronounce manly (audio) \

Definition of manly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: in a manly manner


manlier; manliest

Definition of manly (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having qualities traditionally associated with a man : strong, virile
2 : appropriate in character to a man manly sports

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Synonyms & Antonyms for manly

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of manly in a Sentence

Adjective He wasn't manly enough to fight. He has a deep, manly voice.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Unlike his peers, Virgil isn't manly in the traditional sense or overtly tough, and many characters in these first four issues try to tell him how a man should behave. Christian Holub,, "The EW reading guide to Milestone's classic Black superhero comics," 18 Feb. 2021 Trump's Covid drive by proves downplaying illness isn't manly — it’s dangerous, author Liz Plank writes in an opinion piece. NBC News, "Trump's bout with Covid-19, Biden's national lead jumps to 14 points and the Nobel Prize for Medicine," 5 Oct. 2020 Making men feel manly in masks is, unfortunately, a public-health challenge of our time Wearing a mask has nothing to do with manliness. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Pedestrian killed by vehicle in Prince George’s, police say," 28 June 2020 The company recruited figures from the sports world—the NASCAR driver Mark Martin, the soccer player Pelé, the baseball player Rafael Palmeiro—to star in ads that emphasized men being classically manly: speeding, winning, overcoming. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Jagged Little (Blue) Pill," 27 Mar. 2018 Ranching work was challenging, manly and allowed black people to make as much as whites. The Economist, "Restoring black Americans to the saddle," 25 Jan. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Sam lets it out in his manly, whoop-de-doo gym aria that Andrew Potter made more playful, even a touch remorseful, than show-offy. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, "Review: L.A. gets its live opera back. What POP proved on an outdoor stage near Highland Park," 26 Apr. 2021 The two pairs both suffer embarrassments and humiliations on the trip, but the overall effect is that of boys’ story without being a stubbornly manly one. Washington Post, "‘Raft of Stars’ takes a cue from Hemingway, then puts a less macho spin on the adventure tale," 8 Apr. 2021 The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprize, is gone! Alexander William Salter, National Review, "Is Economics a Liberal Art?," 31 Mar. 2021 According to the strict rules of masculinity, manly men should not recycle, lean in a certain direction, or wear a face mask. Lydia Wang,, "Here’s The Fun New Way Republican Men Are Threatening Public Safety," 24 Mar. 2021 This manly experiment is intended to test the theory of real-life Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud, who has asserted that the normal blood alcohol level of human beings is just too low. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Mads Mikkelsen Can Do Anything. But He's Stuck in the Boring Oscar-Nominated Another Round," 19 Mar. 2021 And finally as Ames, manly man again but not really feeling it, trying to solve problems in that masculine style but having a hell of a time of it. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "'Detransition, Baby' Is as Good as Everyone Says It Is," 1 Mar. 2021 His asthma kept him from emulating his manly forebears. Dominic Green, WSJ, "‘Francis Bacon’ Review: Furious Beauty," 26 Feb. 2021 In the film’s climax, Nixon — who has heretofore taken manly pride in never crying — kneels with Henry Kissinger and prays. Washington Post, "Anthony Hopkins is welcoming old age by embracing his inner child," 25 Feb. 2021

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for manly


Middle English manli "befitting a man, bravely, resolutely, courteously," going back to Old English manliche, from man man entry 1 + -liche -ly entry 2


Middle English manli "human, male, brave, resolute, noble," from man man entry 1 + -li -ly entry 1

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Time Traveler for manly

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

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Cite this Entry

“Manly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for manly



English Language Learners Definition of manly

: having or showing qualities (such as strength or courage) that are expected in a man


man·​ly | \ ˈman-lē How to pronounce manly (audio) \
manlier; manliest

Kids Definition of manly

: having or showing qualities (as strength or courage) often felt to be proper for a man a manly voice

Other Words from manly

manliness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on manly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for manly

Nglish: Translation of manly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of manly for Arabic Speakers

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