kind·​ly | \ ˈkīn(d)-lē How to pronounce kindly (audio) \
kindlier; kindliest

Definition of kindly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of a sympathetic or generous nature
2 : of an agreeable or beneficial nature : pleasant a kindly climate
3a obsolete : natural
b archaic : lawful



Definition of kindly (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : in a kind manner : sympathetically
b : as a gesture of goodwill would take it kindly if you would put in a good word : in an appreciative manner She didn't respond kindly to the suggestion.
c : in a gracious manner : courteously they kindly invited us along
d : as a matter of courtesy : please would you kindly order me a cab
2a dated : readily But he had his gravelled walks, his poets' avenue of yews, that grew kindly, his sundials with their graceful and melancholy admonitions, …— Francis Brett Young At Pisa he saw something both of Trelawny and of Byron, who took to him kindly— Sidney Colvin
b : in the normal way : naturally old wounds which had healed kindlyAmer. Mercury
3 chiefly Southern US : somewhat, kind of it's kindly embarrassing— Walter Davis

— see also take kindly to

Examples of kindly in a Sentence

Adjective A kindly woman helped him find his way home. brought homemade chicken soup out of kindly concern for my health Adverb She always treats animals kindly. They kindly offered to help us.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The prostitute pal Ophelia, who comes to Louis’ rescue —played by Jamie Lee Curtis in the film — is now a kindly Puerto Rican drag queen (Michael Longoria). Frank Rizzo, Variety, 7 June 2022 In the end, though, authorities insisted that Stanford could not have been murdered, for the kindly widow had no enemies. Maia Silber, The New Yorker, 30 May 2022 What will happen when the kindly old man does not come to pick up the teenagers’ waste? Win Mccormack, The New Republic, 20 May 2022 As your patients are children, you must be practiced in delivering instructions in a kindly tone. Washington Post, 9 May 2022 Nelly meets a younger version of her grandmother (Margot Abascal), also named Nelly, whose stern but kindly presence heightens the intimacy and gravity of the situation. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2022 There’s the moody senior partner with secrets (played by Jack Davenport); the ambitious, enigmatic agent snapping at his heels (Lydia Leonard); the eccentric elder doyenne (Maggie Steed); the kindly klutz (Prasanna Puwanarajah). Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 30 Apr. 2022 Finally, a kindly fly shop in Taos mapped out a can’t-miss spot. Ian Dille, Outside Online, 29 Apr. 2022 At the prompting of one of her sons, who had freelanced as a publicist, Harris made the jump to the sitcom world in 1985, securing a three-episode arc on NBC’s Night Court as a kindly hooker named Sweet Mary. Maureen Lee Lenker, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb History will not judge the Jerome Powell Federal Reserve kindly. Desmond Lachman For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 16 June 2022 Basically, TikTok wants to (kindly) shame you into being smarter about your screen time. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 9 June 2022 As Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other huge social media outfits have discovered, advertisers and politicians don’t look kindly on Wild West platforms. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 16 May 2022 Alternatively, the almighty Twitch Drops gods might look kindly upon you. Kris Holt, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 The man had kindly thrown in some free kitchenware and other household supplies. Cathy Free, Washington Post, 7 June 2022 What people needed that night was a kindly grownup plan from someone above the fray. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 26 May 2022 African journalists and media watchers haven’t taken kindly to the trend. Alexander Onukwue, Quartz, 24 May 2022 Millions of ethnic Chinese displaced by the 1949 Communist Revolution were not greeted so kindly. Jane Hong, The Conversation, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kindly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of kindly


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


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

History and Etymology for kindly


Middle English, from Old English cyndelīc, from cynd

Learn More About kindly

Time Traveler for kindly

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near kindly

kindling wood


kindly tenant

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for kindly

Last Updated

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Kindly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for kindly


kind·​ly | \ ˈkīnd-lē How to pronounce kindly (audio) \
kindlier; kindliest

Kids Definition of kindly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : pleasant or wholesome in nature The cool and kindly breath of evening entered through doors and windows.— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web

Other Words from kindly

kindliness noun



Kids Definition of kindly (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : in a sympathetic manner The principal treated him kindly.
2 : in a willing manner We didn't take kindly to the change in schedule.
3 : in an appreciative manner I would take it kindly if you could help me.
4 : in an obliging manner Would you kindly take your seat?

More from Merriam-Webster on kindly

Nglish: Translation of kindly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kindly for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!