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 Appeals to religious authority in this context often flitter between spiritual transcendence and crude worldly functionalism. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Bill Barr’s Invisible Crusade," 8 June 2020 Focus on worldly success, financial security and your career in August, when your perceptiveness in these areas is at a peak. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for June 12, 2020: Libra take a different angle; Sagittarius, highlight best qualities," 12 June 2020 Throughout his career, Trump has maintained that the proof of his smarts was in his fortune—that his early ascension to billionaire status reflected superior worldly wisdom across the board. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, "He Is Even Dumber Than We Thought," 8 June 2020 Their enormous worldly rewards are portrayed as the ultimate marshmallow. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "4 Rules For Identifying Your Life’s Work," 21 May 2020 The result is a tense story of cops (including Michaela) and kidnappers, seasoned by other-worldly weirdness. Mike Hughes,, "Best things to watch on TV this week: April 6-12," 5 Apr. 2020 Check out the Purple Project’s tips for how to deal with politics at Thanksgiving at Americans weren’t exactly worldly, either. Dave Murphy,, "Smart people, dumb comments: Surviving the office and the Thanksgiving table," 21 Nov. 2019 For those hunkered down in the midst of a pandemic, one of Robinson Crusoe’s lessons is understanding the folly of worldly goods. Richard Gunderman, The Conversation, "Shipwrecked! How social isolation can enrich our spiritual lives – like Robinson Crusoe," 6 Apr. 2020 Don’t count your possessions (or your money, power, prestige, romantic partners, or fame) and try to figure out how to increase them; make an inventory of your worldly desires and try to decrease them. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "The Three Equations for a Happy Life," 9 Apr. 2020

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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Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Worldly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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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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