saint·​ly | \ ˈsānt-lē How to pronounce saintly (audio) \
saintlier; saintliest

Definition of saintly

: relating to, resembling, or befitting a saint : holy

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from saintly

saintliness noun

Examples of saintly in a Sentence

a saintly man who devoted his life to caring for the dying

Recent Examples on the Web

Inside, however, visitors find themselves in a different world: Narga Selassie’s walls are covered with religious paintings illustrating Old and New Testament stories and a few saintly narratives. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "A True Island Sanctuary," 8 Feb. 2019 After midnight Mass at a nearby church that holds the saintly relics of an ancestor, the family will return home for panettone and a glass of fine Marsala wine. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "Luxury Homeowners Discover the Delight of Sicily Living," 20 Dec. 2018 The film also isn’t concerned with his flaws, spending only fleeting moments on his ego and unkindness and choosing to focus almost entirely on his saintly qualities. Kimber Myers,, "'Christian Audigier the Vif' doc on late fashion designer goes long on style, skimps on substance," 21 June 2018 Instead of using the power of language to cast flawed but inherently decent protagonists in a saintly glow, the creators have gathered a despicable cast of characters — and keep piling on the backstabbing, setbacks and humiliations. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, "HBO’s ‘Succession’ is a cruel catharsis, and perfect for our swampy time," 1 June 2018 But while a few saintly figures are met in these pages, attempts at real reform generally came to nothing. Patrick Mcgrath, New York Times, "A Dumping Ground for the Poor, the Criminal and the Mad," 28 June 2018 Even saintly Canada prevented a $1bn takeover of a construction company, Aecon, by a Chinese firm in May. America’s security watchdogs recently kiboshed the takeover of Qualcomm by Broadcom, a rival semiconductor firm then domiciled in Singapore. The Economist, "Canaries in the coal mine," 14 June 2018 Yet, for all the sacrilegious naked dresses or culturally inappropriate couture that the event's A-list attendees could've worn to the event, the majority of this year's Met Gala looks hit the mark, making for a revelatory night of saintly fashion. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "Met Gala 2018: Best dressed looks from Rihanna, Amal Clooney, Lena Waithe and more," 8 May 2018 Also: Rabbi Sally is a saint, like the saintly priests and rabbis in concentration camps who continued to minister in hopeless circumstances. Rena Gross, Billboard, "14 Crushing (And Occasionally Uplifting) Moments From 'Handmaid's Tale' Season 2, Episode 5," 16 May 2018

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

1534, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about saintly

Statistics for saintly

Last Updated

21 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for saintly

The first known use of saintly was in 1534

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for saintly



English Language Learners Definition of saintly

: like a saint : very good and kind


saint·​ly | \ ˈsānt-lē How to pronounce saintly (audio) \

Kids Definition of saintly

: like a saint or like that of a saint a saintly deed

Other Words from saintly

saintliness noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on saintly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with saintly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for saintly

Spanish Central: Translation of saintly

Nglish: Translation of saintly for Spanish Speakers

Comments on saintly

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


the way words of a language are spelled

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!