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

Definition of worldly

1 : of, relating to, or devoted to this world and its pursuits rather than to religion or spiritual affairs worldly possessions/pleasures Not for wealth, in its vulgar sense, had he ever sighed; not for the enjoyment of rich things had he ever longed; but for the allotted share of worldly bliss which a wife, and children, and happy home could give him …— Anthony Trollope Religious fervor, which the crusaders had in spades, did not preclude or even hinder their worldly ambition.— Stephen O'Shea
2 : possessing or displaying significant experience and knowledge about life and the world : worldly-wise … a wealthy, fabulously successful gay businesswoman who blows stuff up and dispenses worldly wisdom in equal amounts.— Piers Marchant … took the occasion to impart a bit of worldly advice.— Erich Segal The essays collected here counterpose two groups of men: "the worldly men" of "covetous ambition," in the words of poet Henry King, and those whom they pushed aside in their scramble to the top.— Michael S. Kimmel

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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 The documentary depicts a peripatetic man seemingly incapable of contentment in his growing worldly success, always inventing, trying new things, and traveling the world. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 5 May 2022 Cases with ceramics and lacquer wares show that Zen also introduced more worldly predilections. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, 11 May 2022 In H-Town, worldly decadence meets Texas-sized portions with a dash of Southern charm at the table. Rebecca Treon, Chron, 2 May 2022 From the patterned floor tiles to the two-tone orange accent wall, this layout boasts an attractive worldly flair. Monique Valeris, Good Housekeeping, 30 Apr. 2022 Zeus, Greek mythology’s god of the sky, was thought to be omnipresent and observant of people’s worldly affairs. Antonia Mufarech, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Apr. 2022 The Homer of The Gulf Stream is both more worldly and more elusive than the Homer of little red schoolhouses and sou’westers. Susan Tallman, The Atlantic, 6 Apr. 2022 That simple European-style mid-meal pairing of sweetness and earthiness felt like a leap forward in Pharm Table’s evolution from sunny lunch spot to worldly dinner destination. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, 31 Mar. 2022 Carl Lentz, Hillsong’s leader in New York City, helped raise the church’s profile — until worldly temptations got in the way. New York Times, 29 Mar. 2022 See More

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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worldly goods

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Last Updated

28 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Worldly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for worldly


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

More from Merriam-Webster on worldly

Nglish: Translation of worldly for Spanish Speakers


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