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 For Shiite Muslims, Hussain was their third imam, a worldly and spiritual leader whose direct relationship to Muhammad gave him special status and authority. Edith Szanto, The Conversation, "The largest contemporary Muslim pilgrimage isn’t the hajj to Mecca, it’s the Shiite pilgrimage to Karbala in Iraq," 9 Sep. 2020 For Shiite Muslims, Hussain was their third imam, a worldly and spiritual leader whose direct relationship to Muhammad gave him special status and authority. Edith Szanto,, "Largest contemporary Muslim pilgrimage faces coronavirus challenges," 9 Sep. 2020 The worldly restaurant hasn’t seated anyone inside during the health crisis. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "If family-style takeout is on the menu, these 3 restaurants have a whole lot to offer," 4 Sep. 2020 Would an Indian David Copperfield, by this argument, have stood a chance of worldly success? Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Charles Dickens at the Movies," 28 Aug. 2020 Bishop Talleyrand, womanizer, peculator, nationalizer of the Church, excommunicated, laicized, a diplomat for all sorts of regimes, became a watchword for worldly guile. John D. Hagen, National Review, "The Gospel of Jean-Jacques," 20 Aug. 2020 As Jaffa observes: Lincoln was sensitive to the danger that extreme expectations of worldly perfection would engender extreme political solutions, requiring extreme measures and extreme power in those who would carry them through. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "The Party of Lincoln," 14 Aug. 2020 The group lived communally according to the late Professor Ray Muncy in his history of Searcy, and newspaper stories charged that followers were expected to turn over all their worldly possessions to Cobb. Tom Dillard, Arkansas Online, "TOM DILLARD: A commune bent on murder," 9 Aug. 2020 Such weather has a way of convincing you to ditch your worldly obligations with a single destination in mind: one of Oregon’s stunning lakes. oregonlive, "Find a lake to beat the August heat: Peak Northwest podcast," 6 Aug. 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

24 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Worldly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on worldly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for worldly

Nglish: Translation of worldly for Spanish Speakers

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