Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


-ly

-ly

s
uff.
[OE.
-lich
, AS.
-lic
, orig. the same word as E.
like
, a. See
Like
,
Adj.
]
A suffix forming adjectives and adverbs, and denoting
likeness
or
resemblance
;
as, housewife
ly
duties
.

Syn. – -ish(postnominal), -y(postnominal).

Definition 2021


-ly

-ly

See also: ly, Ly, LY, , , .ly, ly., and ly-

English

Suffix

-ly

  1. Used to form adjectives from nouns, the adjectives having the sense of "like or characteristic of what is denoted by the noun".
    friendly
  2. Used to form adjectives from nouns specifying time intervals, the adjectives having the sense of "occurring at such intervals".
    monthly, daily
Derived terms
Translations
Synonyms

Etymology 2

From Old English -līċe.

Suffix

-ly

  1. Used to form adverbs from adjectives.
    suddenly
Usage notes

In proscriptive usage, derived adverbs in -ly are often preferred to those which are identical in form to the base adjective (e.g., badly instead of bad), despite the fact that the latter have been in continuous use since the earliest stages of the language and represent the norm in languages closely related to English, such as Dutch and German. This is the cause of hypercorrections such as I feel badly (where feel actually represents a copular verb, which traditionally requires an adjectival complement rather than an adverb).

Various sound changes and spelling changes occur for -ly:

  • If an adjective ends with the letter y, it changes into i before adding the suffix (e.g. ready, readily).
  • If an adjective ends with ble, these euphonically blend to bly, due to difficulty of pronouncing *blely. Examples include -ably and -ibly, but also feebly, nimbly, and nobly, among others.
Derived terms
Translations

See also

<a class='CategoryTreeLabel CategoryTreeLabelNs14 CategoryTreeLabelCategory' href='/wiki/Category:English_words_suffixed_with_-ly'>English words suffixed with -ly</a>

Middle English

Etymology

Old English, see above

Suffix

-ly

  1. -ly (suffix used to form adverbs)