9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[bur-lee] /ˈbɜr li/
adjective, burlier, burliest.
large in bodily size; stout; sturdy.
bluff; brusque.
Origin of burly
1250-1300; Middle English borli, burli, Old English borlīce (adv.) excellently, equivalent to bor(a) ruler + -līce -ly
Related forms
burlily, adverb
burliness, noun
unburly, adjective
1. strapping, stocky, brawny, thickset, beefy, hefty.
1. puny, weak, frail. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for burly
  • Get pinned down in a storm and you need two things-a burly tent and comfort so you won't lose your mind.
  • The foldable heel counter isn't as burly as a conventional boot's, so you give up some ankle support.
  • Our test model was definitely built on the burly side of the spectrum.
  • Two burly technicians burst in, unlatch the chair, and lower it.
  • Maple syrup production may conjure up rustic visions of burly guys in plaid shirts hauling metal buckets through the woods.
  • There were a couple of big, burly guys working at the barn, feeding horses and such.
  • Amid the hurly-burly, the only thing that's clear is the future, where hydrogen beckons.
  • Some critics found his full-voiced singing blunt and burly.
  • The sad expression on the burly detective's normally cheerful face was answer enough.
British Dictionary definitions for burly


adjective -lier, -liest
large and thick of build; sturdy; stout
Derived Forms
burliness, noun
Word Origin
C13: of Germanic origin; compare Old High German burlīh lofty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for burly

c.1300, perhaps from Old English burlic "noble, stately," literally "bowerly," fit to frequent a lady's apartment (see bower). Sense descended through "stout," and "sturdy" by 15c. to "heavily built." Another theory connects the Old English word to Old High German burlih "lofty, exalted," related to burjan "to raise, lift."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for burly

burly 1


Burlesque: even when Buttons was in burly

burly 2


Very difficult; tricky; dangerous: Check out his burly disaster slide (1990s+ Snowboarders & skateboarders)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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