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[pawrt-lee, pohrt-] /ˈpɔrt li, ˈpoʊrt-/
adjective, portlier, portliest.
rather heavy or fat; stout; corpulent.
Archaic. stately, dignified, or imposing.
Origin of portly
1520-30; port5 (noun) + -ly
Related forms
portliness, noun
unportly, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for portly
  • So there he was, a portly septuagenarian sunk deep in a leather chair.
  • He may have been more portly than the statue shows him, though.
  • His portly figure and ruddy face suggest that he is no stranger to either of these items.
  • Our waiter fit the stereotype-handlebar moustache, long white apron wrapped around a portly waist-and apparently so did we.
  • First, the portly chap slaps the monitor in frustration.
  • These mice have eaten about two-thirds as many calories as their portly peers.
  • There is an increasing number of portly heroines in fiction.
  • Far from being portly and slow moving, he was a wiry little guy, no more than five feet tall.
  • Generally speaking, dolphin bodies are leaner, and porpoises' are portly.
  • The portly volunteer would have used only half as many fat-derived calories as his lean counterpart.
British Dictionary definitions for portly


adjective -lier, -liest
stout or corpulent
(archaic) stately; impressive
Derived Forms
portliness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from port5 (in the sense: deportment, bearing)
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 portly

early 15c., "stately, dignified," from port (n.3) "bearing, carriage" + -ly (1). Meaning "stout" is first recorded 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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