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 Now, after nearly 45 years in residence, Bell has hoisted the stately spread on the market for just shy of $10.7 million. Mark David, Robb Report, 14 Feb. 2024 Charity Elmore leads guests on a tour that advances from the inn’s stately rooms — ready for an Agatha Christie mystery to break out at any moment — to the lighthouse tower and widow’s walk up top. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2024 Alexander Calder’s Gallows and Lollipops — a very red thing — is also there, giving a dash of hot sauce to the stately space. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 8 Feb. 2024 Kremlin, 727 Lincoln Rd., 673-3150: At one end of this gay dance club, a large, stately bar sports all the elegance and mahogany ambience of a drinking room inside an ornate old palace. Miami Herald Archives, Miami Herald, 8 Feb. 2024 The Hotel Palms and miles of dunes backed with stately oceanfront homes—and the friendly little surf community of Neptune Beach are our favorites for their untrammeled-by-the-masses appeal. Terry Ward, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Feb. 2024 The stately, silver-haired Alávez and her daughter-in-law, Petra Mendoza, make traditional velas — Oaxacan candles with wax adornments around the base. Flora Stubbs, Travel + Leisure, 5 Feb. 2024 Park Avenue and its stately high rises for New York City's nouveau riche covered up the eyesore. Kerry J. Byrne Fox News, Fox News, 2 Feb. 2024 Dilworth’s stately oaks keep getting taller, and so do its homes. Page Leggett, Charlotte Observer, 1 Feb. 2024 See More

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 Feb. 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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