world·​ly | \ ˈwər(-ə)ld-lē How to pronounce worldly (audio) , ˈwərl-lē \

Definition of worldly

1 : of, relating to, or devoted to this world and its pursuits rather than to religion or spiritual affairs

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Other Words from worldly

worldliness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for worldly

earthly, worldly, mundane mean belonging to or characteristic of the earth. earthly often implies a contrast with what is heavenly or spiritual. abandoned earthly concerns and entered a convent worldly and mundane both imply a relation to the immediate concerns and activities of human beings, worldly suggesting tangible personal gain or gratification worldly goods and mundane suggesting reference to the immediate and practical. a mundane discussion of finances

Examples of worldly in a Sentence

She is more worldly than her younger sister. she returned from her year as an exchange student a much more worldly person
Recent Examples on the Web Over the first three quarters against Oklahoma City, Chase Center fans watched Ky Bowman outplay the worldly Chris Paul and pull a brilliant step-back spin move on Dennis Schroder for an inside layup. Bruce Jenkins,, "As the Warriors look ahead, the present looks bleak," 26 Nov. 2019 Compass Rose is dressed with strings of lights, turquoise chairs, throw pillows, rugs on the walls — a mix-and-match backdrop to suit the worldly menu. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Tom Sietsema’s 7 favorite places to eat right now," 25 Nov. 2019 During the Holy Week procession and mass, members are required to wear the black uniforms because the color signifies mourning and a rejection of worldly possessions. Alejandra Rajal, National Geographic, "Behind one of the largest Holy Week processions in Latin America," 18 Apr. 2019 Although Rinpoche became controversial because of his pursuit of worldly pleasures, his shrine was completed in 2001 with a giant gilded Buddha inside. Tom Noel, The Know, "9 odd places that you should include on a Colorado road trip, from a giant hot dog to fake cliff dwellings," 25 Aug. 2019 While new technology can sometimes feel strange, almost other-worldly at first, the future of innovation actually involves researchers better understanding the natural world around us. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian, "Five Scientific Findings That Could Lead to New Inventions," 13 July 2019 Now, opulent French-Colonial mansions are being renovated to host the city’s most exciting openings, from familial cafés with worldly comfort foods to swanky new bars serving hard-to-find Mexican spirits. Michaela Trimble, Vogue, "An Insider’s Guide to Colonia Juárez, Mexico City’s Hottest Neighborhood," 3 July 2019 Gathered before him is a large plastic tub of belongings, two plastic bags of clothes stacked in a laundry bin, and an oversized stereo boom box, accounting for essentially all the worldly possessions McKenzie brought to Buffalo. John Wawrow, The Denver Post, "Bills’ Isaiah McKenzie is all packed up, but hoping to stay," 27 Aug. 2019 This is an excellent time to put important plans into motion, make major changes or ask for advice from those who are wiser and worldlier. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for Aug. 21, 2019: Sagittarius, be of strong character at all times; Pisces, make that apology," 21 Aug. 2019

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for worldly

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

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Statistics for worldly

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Worldly.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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More Definitions for worldly


How to pronounce worldly (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of worldly

: of or relating to the human world and ordinary life rather than to religious or spiritual matters
: having a lot of practical experience and knowledge about life and the world


world·​ly | \ ˈwərld-lē How to pronounce worldly (audio) \
worldlier; worldliest

Kids Definition of worldly

1 : of or relating to the affairs of life rather than with spiritual affairs They lost all their worldly possessions in the fire.

Other Words from worldly

worldliness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on worldly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for worldly

Spanish Central: Translation of worldly

Nglish: Translation of worldly for Spanish Speakers

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