time·​ly | \ˈtīm-lē \
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

opportune, seasonable, well-timed

Antonyms: Adjective

inopportune, unseasonable, untimely

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Examples of timely in a Sentence


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

Making sure these spacecraft come out of orbit in a timely manner is crucial because of the vast number of vehicles that SpaceX wants to put into orbit. Loren Grush, The Verge, "SpaceX wants to fly some internet satellites closer to Earth to cut down on space trash," 9 Nov. 2018 Phillies’ starter Aaron Nola and the rest of Philadelphia’s staff held the Marlins scoreless the rest of the game, but thanks to Richards, Miami’s bullpen and a timely catch from Maybin, that was all the Marlins needed. Mike Persak, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Marlins shut out Phillies, 2-0, even weekend series with division leaders," 14 July 2018 This compelling story of the rise and fall of a charismatic populist and the reporter who covers him, provides a timely insight into both the political process and how the flaws in human nature can be exploited. Steve Israel, chicagotribune.com, "What's the greatest book about politics? Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich and others weigh in.," 12 July 2018 Legislators also added provisions to the bill to require political parties to file more frequent and timely campaign finance reports with the state. Taryn Luna, sacbee, "More campaign money could flow to California legislative leaders under new bill," 11 July 2018 Veteran manager Jack McKeon credited Roush and Groh for their timely hitting, though McKeon did wonder why any parent would name his child Heinie. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty: Lucky? Good? These Cincinnati Reds are probably both.," 11 July 2018 Whitney Cummings at Tempe Improv Comedian Whitney Cummings engages audiences with her timely comic focus on relationships and societal issues affecting women. Laura Latzko, azcentral, "A night with Christopher Lloyd of 'Back to the Future,' plus more fun events this weekend," 10 July 2018 Rozek said the work this year will extend the life of the roadway by providing timely repairs and maintenance, as well as shoulder, retaining wall and noise-wall repairs and guardrail, drainage and lighting improvements. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Road and ramp repairs on I-88 between Naperville and Oak Brook start this week," 10 July 2018 Remember a couple months ago when scientists said someone was mysteriously making CFCs again, breaking the global ban and threatening the timely recovery of the ozone layer? Alan Murray, Fortune, "Xiaomi Flop, Brexit Resignation, Formula Lobbying: CEO Daily for July 9, 2018," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Her utopianism, so timely amid the catastrophes that still shake the world, particularly recommends this most personal of histories. New York Times, "Notes From the Book Review Archives," 11 May 2018 Reaching maturity amid the uproar of second-wave feminism, Ms. Simmons, now 68, captured a mood that was in the air then and feels very timely now. Arthur Lubow, New York Times, "Influenced by Her Children, Laurie Simmons Exits Her Comfort Zone," 27 Apr. 2018 In this moment, Big Little Lies feels particularly timely. Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter, "HBO Boss on 'Big Little Lies' Impact, "Earned" Raises and Addressing Pay Parity," 9 Apr. 2018 The image might seem particularly timely this year, given the steady progress of the Trump administration's anti-immigrant agenda, but cinema has always provided a gateway between the U.S. and its southern neighbors. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "The wall’s gonna fall at the Chicago Latino Film Festival," 5 Apr. 2018 Further, a partnership must opt out of the New Rules on its tax return (timely filed) and notify each of its partners within 30 days of making such election. Driscoll Ugarte, miamiherald, "Radical revamp of partnership audit rules will have a broad effect | Miami Herald," 27 Apr. 2018 Summer rains have stimulated lots of new growth; perform timely pruning as needed. Tom Maccubbin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "July in the garden," 30 June 2018 Examining how racist and sexist behavior demeans black female athletes is both timely and a long time coming to Jacqueline Jones. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, "New study from Morgan State explores how black female athletes navigate racism and sexism to excel," 27 June 2018 The lawsuit alleges the pharmacist and emergency room physician, Dr. Nicole Mancha, failed to timely diagnose and treat the overdose and failed to provide appropriate counseling. Amy Forliti, BostonGlobe.com, "Prince’s heirs sue hospital, Walgreens over post-overdose care," 24 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for timely

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for timely

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

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More Definitions for timely



Financial Definition of timeliness

What It Is

Timeliness is a ranking criterion of stocks based on the likely price performance of a stock over a short time period – usually less than 12 months.

How It Works

Stocks are ranked on a 1 - 5 scale, with one the highest achievable score.

1 indicates the top 100 Stocks
2 indicates above average stocks
3 indicates average stocks
4 indicates below average
5 indicates the lowest rated 100 stocks

Investors are encouraged to hold on to stocks ranked "1" or "2" and sell stocks ranked "4" or "5."

Why It Matters

Timeliness is most widely cited in reference to analysis reports by the Value Line Publishing, Inc., one of the widest read stock research publication companies. A high timeliness rating is Value Line's best expectation of price performance for any given stock.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of timely

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


time·​ly | \ˈtīm-lē \
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

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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

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Comments on timely

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


playful or foolish behavior

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