Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English kyndely, kyndeliche, from Old English cyndelīċ (natural, kindly); equivalent to kind +‎ -ly.


kindly (comparative kindlier, superlative kindliest)

  1. Having a kind personality; kind, warmhearted, sympathetic.
    A kindly old man sits on the park bench every afternoon feeding pigeons.
    • 1849, [Alfred, Lord Tennyson], In Memoriam, London: Edward Moxon, [], published 1850, OCLC 3968433, canto LXVI, page 91:
      The shade by which my life was crost, [] Has made me kindly with my kind
    • 2021 July 28, Christian Wolmar, “Forgotten by the railways, but ripe for the exploring”, in RAIL, number 936, page 34:
      This was the first long train journey I ever took, and the details remain in my memory as sharply as if they had taken place last week. Hopping on the Circle Line to King's Cross, boarding the compartmentalised train, the kindly ticket inspectors, and every station where the Grimsby express stopped (in those days it didn't go through to Cleethorpes).
  2. (dated) Favourable, gentle, pleasant, tidy, auspicious, beneficent.
    • 1712, Alexander Pope, Messiah:
      In soft silence shed the kindly shower.
    • 1815, William Wordsworth, “Canto III”, in The White Doe of Rylstone; or, The Fate of the Nortons:
      His Brothers' wisdom or their love— / But calmly from the spot withdrew; / The like endeavours to renew, / should e'er a kindlier time ensue.
    • 1833, John Henry Newman, Lead, kindly Light:
      Lead, kindly Light, amid th' encircling gloom, / ⁠Lead Thou me on
  3. (archaic) Lawful.
  4. (obsolete) Natural; inherent to the kind or race.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English kyndly, kyndely, kyndeliche, kundeliche, from Old English ġecyndelīċe, equivalent to kind +‎ -ly.


kindly (comparative more kindly, superlative most kindly)

  1. In a kind manner, out of kindness.
    He kindly offered to take us to the station in his car.
    • 1890, Emily Dickinson, “The Chariot”, in T. W. Higginson; M. L. Todd, editors, Poems by Emily Dickinson, First Series, Boston: Roberts Brothers, page 138:
      Because I could not stop for Death, / He kindly stopped for me; / The carriage held but just ourselves / And Immortality.
    • 1900 May 17, L[yman] Frank Baum, chapter 23, in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Ill.; New York, N.Y.: Geo[rge] M. Hill Co., OCLC 297099816:
      She was both beautiful and young to their eyes. Her hair was a rich red in color and fell in flowing ringlets over her shoulders. Her dress was pure white but her eyes were blue, and they looked kindly upon the little girl.
  2. In a favourable way.
    • 2011 October 29, Neil Johnston, “Norwich 3 - 3 Blackburn”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Aguero was quick to block Hennessey's attempted clearance and the ball bounced kindly to Dzeko, who had the simplest of tasks to put City ahead.
  3. Used to make a polite request: please.
    Kindly refrain from walking on the grass.
    Kindly move your car out of the front yard.
    • a. 1770s, Traditional (lyrics and music), “Seven Drunken Nights ”, performed by The Dubliners:
      Well, I called me wife and I said to her: Will you kindly tell to me / Who owns that horse outside the door where my old horse should be?
  4. (US) With kind acceptance; used with take.
    I don't take kindly to threats.
    Aunt Daisy didn't take it kindly when we forgot her anniversary.
    When I ask kindly, I don't expect to repeat myself.
  5. (dialectal) Kind of, somewhat.
  6. (archaic) Readily.
  7. (obsolete) Naturally.

Usage notesEdit

  • (please): Kindly is used in a slightly more peremptory way than please. It is generally used to introduce a request with which the person addressed is expected to comply, and takes the edge off what would otherwise be a command.
  • (with kind acceptance): This sense is a negative polarity item; it is usually found in questions and negative statements, as in the above example sentences.


Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit

  • kindly”, in Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary.