world·​ly | \ ˈwər(-ə)ld-lē, 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

Edmund Gosse, a worldly man of letters, wrote his best book in his 50s with this memoir of his childhood. Claire Tomalin, WSJ, "Five Best: Claire Tomalin on the Best Books About Family Trouble," 22 Nov. 2018 Inspired by a worldly childhood divided between Turkey and Virginia, Richmond designer Ryland Witt fuses East and West to create feminine rooms with global appeal. Hillary Brown, House Beautiful, "Ryland Witt Embraces the Finer Things in Life," 6 June 2016 Islam calls upon the faithful to also try and detach from worldly pleasures and focus on one’s deeds, thoughts and actions. Washington Post, "A look at the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan," 17 May 2018 Desperate to manipulate and please his father-in-law, Jared is hungry for worldly influence and has been since his days as an aspirational New York media magnate. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Top Takeaways From Michael Wolff’s “Fire And Fury”," 9 Jan. 2018 An Untidy Life By Les Hinton Scribe, 445 pages, $30 Newsletter Sign-up Early days at News International in the mid-1990s: My assistant Marianne Krafinski, a tough and worldly native of Queens in New York City, called from her desk. WSJ, "Excerpts From Les Hinton’s ‘An Untidy Life’," 15 Nov. 2018 But the drug formerly known as Accutane also has some serious side effects including, other-worldly dryness, serious warnings about getting pregnant, and a potential relationship to increasing your risk of depression and anxiety. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "Woman Shares Before-and-After Photos to Show How Accutane Transformed Her Skin," 27 Sep. 2018 The best way to wear your worldly goods: all together—and all at once. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Have Travel, Will Shop: The Best Pieces From Around the World (And Those You Can Buy Online, Too)," 6 Sep. 2018 To get up close to the magnificent creatures, stay at the Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, an old-worldly tented camp located inside the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Safari-to-Beach Trips to Book," 26 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for worldly

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for worldly

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

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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 \
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

Comments on worldly

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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