English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English erthely, erthlich, ierðlich, from Old English eorþlīċ, corresponding to earth +‎ -ly. Cognate with Old Norse jarðligr (earthly).

Pronunciation edit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈəːθli/
  • (file)

Adjective edit

earthly (comparative earthlier, superlative earthliest)

  1. Relating to the earth or this world, as opposed to heaven; terrestrial.
    earthly joys
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Philippians 3:18–19:
      (For many walke, of whome I haue told you often, and now tell you euen weeping, that they are the enemies of the crosse of Christ: / Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glorie is in their shame, who minde earthly things.)
    • 1832, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Heath's Book of Beauty, 1833, The Enchantress, pages 1–2:
      The shadows of earth and earthly things, resting omen-like upon the waters, alone shewed which was the home and which the mirror of the celestial host.
  2. (negative, informal) Used for emphasis
    • 1971 April 4, Robert B. Semple Jr., “The Nation”, in The New York Times[1], page E1:
      The pressures of politics and war seem remote on this lovely stretch of California coastline, but last week there was no earthly way to avoid them.
    • 2016 June 10, Michael Hitzlik, “Column: Congress continues its stealth assault on Social Security’s customer service”, in Los Angeles Times[2]:
      In fiscal terms, there’s no earthly reason for Congress to be stingy with Social Security’s administrative budget.
  3. (obsolete) Made of earth; earthy.
    • 1533, John Frith, An other boke against Rastel:
      We have this [] treasure in frail, brittle, and earthly vessels.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

See also edit

Noun edit

earthly (plural earthlies)

  1. (collective or in the plural) That which is of the earth or earthly; a terrestrial being.
    • 2018, Tamar M. Boyadjian, The City Lament: Jerusalem across the Medieval Mediterranean, Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, page 28:
      He claims that the book directs the believer to let go of the earthly and await God's kingdom in the heavenly.
    • [1844], Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “The Virgin Mary to the Child Jesus”, in Mrs. Browning's Poems with Memoir, Chicago & New York: Henneberry, stanza 5, page 267:
      So, let all earthlies and celestials wait / Upon Thy royal state! / Sleep, sleep, my kingly One!
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:earthly.
  2. (UK, colloquial) A slightest chance (of success etc.) or idea (about something).
    • 1925 July – 1926 May, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “(please specify the chapter number)”, in The Land of Mist (eBook no. 0601351h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, published April 2019:
      He arched his eyebrows over the summons. "The poor devil has not an earthly!" said he. "He's lucky to have a summons. Usually they act on a warrant."
    • 1974, GB Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, New York, published 2007, page 315:
      ‘Then I didn't have a chance when I stood you a drink?’ I said. ‘Not an earthly!’ she said and laughed; but when I left she kissed me good-night.

Adverb edit

earthly (comparative more earthly, superlative most earthly)

  1. in an earthly manner.
    • c. 1595–1596 (date written), William Shakespeare, A Midsommer Nights Dreame. [] (First Quarto), London: [] [Richard Bradock] for Thomas Fisher, [], published 1600, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
      But earthlyer happy is the roſe diſtild, / Then that, vvhich, vvithering on the virgin thorne, / Grovves, liues, and dies, in ſingle bleſſedneſſe.
    • 1827, Sarah Wilmot Wells, Tales; Mournful, Mirthful, and Marvellous, volume 3, page 94:
      and dost thou, indeed, revive to existence only to again (even in more attempered blood) design the death of the innocent, helpless, orphaned memorial of a pure, a heaven and earthly-sanctioned flame, whose venial trespass was but the forestalment of your own decree?
    • 1886, Thomas Martin McWhinney, Reason and Revelation, Hand in Hand, page 324:
      And here again we observe the great advantage of the heavenly over the earthly appointed courts.
    • 1927, Harriette Augusta Curtiss, The Message of Aquaria, page 431:
      Under such circumstances it is wise that church and state be separated, for such an earthly ordained priesthood has no more ability to rule wisely than have civil rulers.
    • 2010, Patricia Ann Sunday, Jimmy Swaggart: the Anointed Cherub That Covereth, page 1:
      The Lord has allowed me to see a striking similarity between this heavenly anointed cherub and this earthly anointed cherub (messenger) of God.
    • 2016, Bruce W. Hubbard, Marlene Hubbard, The Way of Grace:
      Qualifications are heavenly ordained, not earthly appointed; it is God Who has qualified us as saints and made us fit to share in His eternal salvation. It is not our own efforts and accomplishments that have qualified us; []

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit