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 Part of the trouble in Texas is the state’s reliance on individual providers — some of which had never reported public health information to the state — to submit data in a timely fashion. Cayla Harris, San Antonio Express-News, "Vaccine data troubles raise equity concerns for Black, Latino Texans," 31 Jan. 2021 Minnesota needs to take several immediate steps toward simplifying registration for COVID vaccination and assuring that the likely upcoming need for volunteer health care providers is met in a timely fashion. David Parker, Star Tribune, "Minnesota needs to get volunteers on board," 26 Jan. 2021 Berry hasn’t made contingency plans in the event Williams’ nerve doesn’t respond in a timely fashion. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "Andrew Berry optimistic Grant Delpit and Greedy Williams healthy in 2021; Denzel Ward needed oxygen on sidelines post-COVID-19," 21 Jan. 2021 Azar also said states that are doing a better job ensuring vaccines are being used in a timely fashion will get more vaccines in the future. David Jacobs, Washington Examiner, "Despite federal changes, Louisiana sticking to its current vaccine prioritization plan for now," 13 Jan. 2021 Those timely and effective actions helped get the economy through the third quarter of 2020 in surprisingly good shape. Alan S. Blinder, WSJ, "Building Bridges to Help the Economy Through Covid," 30 Dec. 2020 There is a court hearing today, in which Sentinel lawyers will push to have the reports released weekly in a timely fashion. Naseem S. Miller, orlandosentinel.com, "White House COVID-19 report: Florida remains in red zone for cases," 21 Dec. 2020 As the Star-Advertiser and ProPublica reported in October, DHHL is failing to award homesteads in a timely fashion, as state law requires. Promised Land, ProPublica, "The Government Promised to Return Ancestral Hawaiian Land, Then Never Finished the Job," 19 Dec. 2020 As there are only two races for voters to participate in, the expectation is that less workers will be needed to get the ballots processed in a timely fashion. Caitlin Mcfall, Fox News, "Georgia announces two more early voting sites after outcry from voting rights groups," 10 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

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Timely.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/timely. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for timely



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

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