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[kuhm-lee] /ˈkʌm li/
adjective, comelier, comeliest.
pleasing in appearance; attractive; fair:
a comely face.
proper; seemly; becoming:
comely behavior.
Origin of comely
before 1000; Middle English cumli, Old English cȳmlīc lovely, equivalent to cȳme exquisite (cognate with Middle High German kūme weak, tender, German kaum (adv.) with difficulty, Old High German kūmo) + -līc -ly
Related forms
comelily, adverb
comeliness, noun
uncomely, adjective
1. pretty, handsome, beautiful, good-looking, personable.
1. unattractive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for comely
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Stripped of its filmy housings, naked, muscular and comely, the majestic Cardiff Giant loomed above me!

    Sketches New and Old, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • The girl, just rescued from the Shawnees, was a comely maiden.

    The Riflemen of the Miami Edward S. Ellis
  • It was at the moment of the fall of day when every man may pass as handsome and every woman as comely.

  • The comely Anna pounced upon her friend, shook her, chided and beseeched her.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • Though black in their own eyes, they are comely and honourable in His.

    Practical Religion John Charles Ryle
  • Nettie Minorca was “black but comely,” and had Spanish blood in her veins.

    Marge Askinforit Barry Pain
  • And knowing what lay before them, "surely," she thought, "it were an evil thing that men so bold and comely should perish."

    The Ontario Readers Ontario Ministry of Education
  • It is a comely fashion to be glad-- Joy is the grace we say to God.

    Cupology Clara
British Dictionary definitions for comely


adjective -lier, -liest
good-looking; attractive
Derived Forms
comeliness, noun
Word Origin
Old English cӯmlīc beautiful; related to Old High German cūmi frail, Middle High German komlīche suitably
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 comely

"beautiful, handsome," c.1400, probably from Old English cymlic "lovely, splendid, finely made," from cyme "exquisite, glorious, delicate," from West Germanic *kumi- "delicate, feeble" (cf. Old High German chumo "with difficulty," chumig "weak, delicate;" German kaum "hardly, scarcely"). Or perhaps the modern word is from Middle English bicumelic (c.1200) "suitable, exquisite," literally "becomely" (cf. becoming).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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