From Middle English dethlich, from Old English dēaþlīċ, equivalent to death +‎ -ly.



deathly (comparative deathlier or more deathly, superlative deathliest or most deathly)

  1. Appearing as though dead, or on the verge of death.
    He has a deathly pallor.
    • 1818, [Mary Shelley], chapter VI, in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. [], volume III, London: [] [Macdonald and Son] for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, OCLC 830979744, page 120:
      I rushed towards her, and embraced her with ardour; but the deathly languor and coldness of the limbs told me, that what I now held in my arms had ceased to be the Elizabeth whom I had loved and cherished.
  2. Deadly, fatal, causing death.
  3. Extreme.
    He has a deathly fear of crocodiles.

Derived termsEdit



deathly (comparative more deathly, superlative most deathly)

  1. In a way that resembles death.
    He was deathly pale.
  2. Extremely, dreadfully.
    The water was deathly cold.
    He was deathly afraid of crocodiles.