port·​ly ˈpȯrt-lē How to pronounce portly (audio)
portlier; portliest
: heavy or rotund of body : stout
portliness noun

Example Sentences

a portly gentleman who clearly didn't get enough exercise walked with the portly grace of the grande dame that she was
Recent Examples on the Web In Facebook groups dedicated to Texas barbecue fandom, a recently popular meme shows a portly man dancing on a stripper pole. Elizabeth Findell, WSJ, 9 Mar. 2022 Made of steel, the watch had in its dial a sketch of a portly man, his face framed by round glasses and his broad shoulders clad in a wide-lapelled jacket. Sonia Paul, Wired, 1 Mar. 2022 That’s when the portly orphan, who was riding in the van with her, slices off her face to wear it as his own. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 18 Feb. 2022 One day, Lem held forth about H. G. Wells and Jules Verne to a portly man who turned out to run a publishing house. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 Boyega had suggested a portly version of the young Sidney Poitier crossed with the facile charisma of the young Denzel Washington. Armond White, National Review, 18 Aug. 2021 He was locked away to serve several life sentences, aging into a portly man with a thick white beard. New York Times, 13 June 2021 One of my favorite shots is of a portly man in a business suit, rubbing his hands together over and over, in an age-old gesture of distress. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 14 Dec. 2020 Henry himself, looking more like the portly statesman of Hans Holbein’s famous portrait than a swashbuckling Renaissance man, rides in a procession at the bottom left. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 June 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'portly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


port entry 3

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of portly was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near portly

Cite this Entry

“Portly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portly. Accessed 26 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


port·​ly ˈpōrt-lē How to pronounce portly (audio)
portlier; portliest
: heavy of body : stout
portliness noun

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