time·​ly | \ ˈtīm-lē How to pronounce timely (audio) \
timelier; timeliest

Definition of timely

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : coming early or at the right time a timely decision timely payment
2 : appropriate or adapted to the times or the occasion a timely book



Definition of timely (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : in time : opportunely the question was not … timely raised in the state court— W. O. Douglas
2 archaic : early, soon

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Other Words from timely


timeliness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for timely

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of timely in a Sentence

Adjective Her very timely book examines the effects of global warming on the world's climates. She always responds to my requests in a timely fashion .
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Several Democratic state representatives sent a letter this month to Georgia’s attorney general requesting an investigation into Georgia’s inability to pay claims in a timely manner. Washington Post, "Months later, more than 1 million Americans are still waiting for unemployment aid," 4 Jan. 2021 The situation is so bad that, in many cases, a lawsuit is the only way to prompt an agency to start releasing records in a timely manner. Joshua Eaton, The New Republic, "How Biden Can Bring Transparency Back to Government," 1 Jan. 2021 This fall, Hyundai and Kia agreed to pay up to $210 million in civil penalties as part of a settlement with U.S. safety regulators, who say the two brands failed to recall 1.6 million older-model vehicles for engine issues in a timely manner. Ben Foldy, WSJ, "Hyundai, Kia Pick Up Speed in 2020 With New SUVs," 30 Dec. 2020 In a year also engulfed in political partisanship and absurdity, some documentaries were particularly timely. Will Coviello, NOLA.com, "Silver linings from a tough year for movie lovers," 28 Dec. 2020 As of the end of November, the United States average was 66.6% of first payments were timely. Anoa Changa, Essence, "Trump’s Delayed Signing Of Relief Bill Frustrates Unemployment Assistance," 28 Dec. 2020 Ars Technica: In many ways, the film is quite timely. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Humanity is in danger of becoming obsolete technology in LX 2048," 20 Dec. 2020 The prep was timely because next up for Rossi was a stint with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland after the Wild loaned him to the club. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "Wild top pick Marco Rossi eager for action in World Junior Championships," 16 Dec. 2020 That last part, while always a bonus, is particularly timely in 2020, when so many are looking for ways to stretch their pantries and create flavorful meals without breaking the bank. Washington Post, "Our favorite cookbooks of 2020," 9 Dec. 2020

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for timely

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for timely

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Timely.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/timely. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for timely


How to pronounce timely (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of timely

: happening at the correct or most useful time : not happening too late


time·​ly | \ ˈtīm-lē How to pronounce timely (audio) \
timelier; timeliest

Kids Definition of timely

1 : coming early or at the right time a timely payment
2 : especially suitable to the time a timely book


time·​ly | \ ˈtīm-lē \

Legal Definition of timely

: falling within a prescribed or reasonable time timely notice

Other Words from timely

timeliness noun
timely adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on timely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for timely

Nglish: Translation of timely for Spanish Speakers

Comments on timely

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