world·​ly ˈwər(-ə)ld-lē How to pronounce worldly (audio)
worldlier; worldliest
: 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
: 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
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

Example Sentences

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 other-worldly snake comes in all sorts of different colors, including green, blue, brown and yellow. Donna Sarkar, Discover Magazine, 27 Oct. 2022 The commitment, the effort, the leadership and the often other-worldly level of play for the last four seasons. Dallas News, 24 Mar. 2022 Inspired by the shores of the Portuguese coast, the Maria do Leste reflects the worldly voyages of the Portuguese sailors, including piri piri peppers, paprika and cinnamon. Larry Olmsted, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2022 Bikoff is known for her use of bold color and unapologetic maximalism inspired by her worldly travels. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 1 Dec. 2022 For single Fish, Venus in this worldly part of your chart can fire up a cross-cultural or long-distance attraction. The Astrotwins, ELLE, 30 Nov. 2022 Imagine someone who wouldn't be delighted to open up a box of these decadent chocolates filled with worldly flavors like dulce de leche, olive oil, and pasilla chiles. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 24 Nov. 2022 Sabah may be known for their worldly leather shoes and slippers, but this new scent captures the wanderlust spirit of the brand perfectly. Christian Gollayan, Men's Health, 22 Nov. 2022 For the worldly foodie, this cookbook by Moroccan chef Nargisse Benkabbou offers plenty of cooking projects for the new year. Iona Brannon, Condé Nast Traveler, 8 Nov. 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.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near worldly

Cite this Entry

“Worldly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


world·​ly ˈwər(-ə)l-dlē How to pronounce worldly (audio)
: of, relating to, or concerned with the affairs of this world rather than with spiritual affairs
worldliness noun

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