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[urth-lee] /ˈɜrθ li/
adjective, earthlier, earthliest.
of or relating to the earth, especially as opposed to heaven; worldly.
possible or conceivable:
an invention of no earthly use to anyone.
Origin of earthly
before 1000; Middle English erth(e)ly, Old English eorthlīc. See earth, -ly
Related forms
earthliness, noun
superearthly, adjective
Can be confused
earthly, earthy (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. secular, temporal, mortal. Earthly, terrestrial, worldly, mundane refer to that which is concerned with the earth literally or figuratively. Earthly now almost always implies a contrast to that which is heavenly: earthly pleasures; our earthly home. Terrestrial, from Latin, is the dignified equivalent of earthly, and it applies to the earth as a planet or to the land as opposed to the water: the terrestrial globe; terrestrial areas. Worldly is commonly used in the sense of being devoted to the vanities, cares, advantages, or gains of this present life to the exclusion of spiritual interests or the life to come: worldly success; worldly standards. Mundane, from Latin, is a formal equivalent of worldly and suggests that which is bound to the earth, is not exalted, and therefore is commonplace: mundane pursuits.
1. spiritual, divine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for earthly
  • They don't make much money, because some things are more valuable than earthly rewards.
  • These divides of left and right are constructed to get us consumed in arguments of no earthly important to elite monopolists.
  • The church, even when it was winning impressively large number of converts, wielded no earthly power.
  • Such a tiny difference seemed impossible to measure by earthly experiments.
  • Create a replica of a comet with earthly elements.
  • There are more earthly matters of supply and demand.
  • The voice of the wood thrush, touched by earthly matters, resonates more powerfully with the human condition.
  • They're dressed in their living best, the uniforms of their earthly calling.
  • They continue to live in the awareness of their human successors on the throne of earthly dominance.
  • The living things that sustained them were gods in disguise, spirits visiting the earthly world.
British Dictionary definitions for earthly


adjective -lier, -liest
of or characteristic of the earth as opposed to heaven; material or materialistic; worldly
(usually used with a negative) (informal) conceivable or possible; feasible (in such phrases as not an earthly (chance), etc)
Derived Forms
earthliness, noun
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 earthly

Old English eorþlic "earthly, worldly;" see earth + -ly (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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