English

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From Middle English -ly, -li, -lik, -lich, from Old English -līċ, from Proto-West Germanic *-līk, from Proto-Germanic *-līkaz (having the body or form of), from *līką (body) (whence lich). In form, probably influenced by Old Norse -ligr (-ly) (Norwegian Bokmål -lig, Faroese -ligur, Icelandic -legur). Cognate with Dutch -lijk, German -lich, Danish -lig and Swedish -lig. Doublet of -like.

Suffix

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-ly

  1. Used to form adjectives from nouns, the adjectives having the sense of "behaving like, or having a nature typical of what is denoted by the noun" Similar in meaning to -like but most often paired with animate nouns.
    man + ‎-ly → ‎manly
    friend + ‎-ly → ‎friendly
  2. Used to form adjectives from nouns, the adjectives having the sense of "appearing like, resembling, or having the likeness of what is denoted by the noun".
    bloom + ‎-ly → ‎bloomly
    priest + ‎-ly → ‎priestly
  3. Used to form adjectives from nouns specifying time intervals, the adjectives having the sense of "occurring at such intervals".
    month + ‎-ly → ‎monthly
    day + ‎-ly → ‎daily
Synonyms
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Derived terms
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Translations
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Etymology 2

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From Middle English -ly, -li, -liche, from Old English -līċe.

Suffix

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-ly

  1. Used to form adverbs from adjectives and nouns.
    sudden + ‎-ly → ‎suddenly
Usage notes
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In prescriptive 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 a consonant followed by y, it changes into i before adding the suffix (e.g. ready > readily, easy > easily).
  • If an adjective ends with ll, one l drops out to avoid a triple letter (e.g. full > fully, shrill > shrilly).
  • If an adjective ends with a syllabic /l̩/ (spelled -le after a consonant), euphony causes the -le to drop out. Examples include -ably and -ibly, but also noble > nobly, ample > amply, and idle > idly, among others.
  • Adjectives ending in -ic generally take -ally (public > publicly being an exception).
Derived terms
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Translations
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See also

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Anagrams

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Middle English

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Etymology 1

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From Old English -līċ. Related to lich.

Alternative forms

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Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): /-liː/, /-liːt͡ʃ/, /-lit͡ʃ/

Suffix

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-ly (comparative -lyere, superlative -lyest)

  1. Used to form adjectives from nouns, the adjectives having the sense of "like or characteristic of what is denoted by the noun".
  2. Appended to adjectives in order to render meaning of the adjective either more intense or more approximate.
    E.g. ded (no longer alive), dedly (causing, resembling or subject to death); schort (not long), shortly (momentary; very brief)
Usage notes
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  • -ly is generally the most common variant of this suffix, though in some words, other variants may be more common, such as -lich(e).
Derived terms
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Descendants
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  • English: -ly
  • Scots: -lie
References
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Etymology 2

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From Old English -līċe, itself a combination of the adjective-forming suffix -līċ (see etymology 1 above) and the adverbial suffix -e.

Alternative forms

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Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): /-liː/, /-liːt͡ʃ(ə)/, /-lit͡ʃ(ə)/

Suffix

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-ly (comparative -lyere, superlative -lyest)

  1. Used to form adverbs from adjectives, and nouns; the adverbs having the sense of "in the manner of what is denoted by the adjective/noun".
  2. Optionally appended to adverbs without suffixes with no change to the meaning.
Usage notes
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  • As with its adjectival equivalent, -ly is generally the most common variant of this suffix, though in some words, other variants may be more common, such as -lich(e).
Derived terms
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Descendants
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References
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