adjective, burlier, burliest.
large in bodily size; stout; sturdy.
bluff; brusque.

1250–1300; Middle English borli, burli, Old English borlīce (adv.) excellently, equivalent to bor(a) ruler + -līce -ly

burlily, adverb
burliness, noun
unburly, adjective

1. strapping, stocky, brawny, thickset, beefy, hefty.

1. puny, weak, frail.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
burly (ˈbɜːlɪ)
adj , -lier, -liest
large and thick of build; sturdy; stout
[C13: of Germanic origin; compare Old High German burlīh lofty]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, perhaps from O.E. burlic "noble, stately," lit. "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 original word to O.H.G. burlih "lofty, exalted," related
to burjan "to raise, lift."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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