state·​ly ˈstāt-lē How to pronounce stately (audio)
statelier; stateliest
: marked by lofty or imposing dignity
: impressive in size or proportions
stateliness noun
stately adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for stately

grand, magnificent, imposing, stately, majestic, grandiose mean large and impressive.

grand adds to greatness of size the implications of handsomeness and dignity.

a grand staircase

magnificent implies an impressive largeness proportionate to scale without sacrifice of dignity or good taste.

magnificent paintings

imposing implies great size and dignity but especially stresses impressiveness.

an imposing edifice

stately may suggest poised dignity, erectness of bearing, handsomeness of proportions, ceremonious deliberation of movement.

the stately procession

majestic combines the implications of imposing and stately and usually adds a suggestion of solemn grandeur.

a majestic waterfall

grandiose implies a size or scope exceeding ordinary experience

grandiose hydroelectric projects

but is most commonly applied derogatorily to inflated pretension or absurd exaggeration.

grandiose schemes

Examples of stately in a Sentence

the governor watched with stately aloofness as his wife charmed the party guests a stately dowager in an evening gown
Recent Examples on the Web Everyone knew that Basie could make listeners bob their feet and rush to the dance floor, but few noticed that his was the first Black band to play at Pittsburgh’s stately William Penn Hotel back in 1937. Larry Tye, TIME, 9 May 2024 The architectural style of these stately buildings stems from 18th-century Kolkata, the capital of British India for more than a century, when European colonialists saw a place ripe for their grand global building enterprise. Diya Kohli, Condé Nast Traveler, 6 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for stately 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stately.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near stately

Cite this Entry

“Stately.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


state·​ly ˈstāt-lē How to pronounce stately (audio)
statelier; stateliest
: impressively grand in appearance, manner, or size
stateliness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on stately

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