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From port +‎ -ly.



portly (comparative portlier, superlative portliest)

  1. Somewhat fat, pudgy, overweight. [from 15th c.]
    • 1824, Washington Irving, Tales of a Traveller, Introduction:
      Indeed, the poor man has grown ten times as nervous as ever, since he has discovered, on such good authority, who the stout gentleman was. . . . He has anxiously endeavored to call up a recollection of what he saw of that portly personage; and has ever since kept a curious eye on all gentlemen of more than ordinary dimensions.
    • 1913, P. G. Wodehouse, The Little Nugget, ch. 14:
      His portly middle section, rising beyond like a small hill, heaved rhythmically.
    • 2011 July 6, Nick Carbone, "Top 10 Worst Fictional Camp Counselors," Time (retrieved 8 May 2014):
      In Heavyweights, Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller) is a fitness guru who installs himself as the über-buff leader of Camp Hope, with the goal of helping portly youngsters shed their saggy stomachs and thunder thighs.
  2. (now rare) Having a dignified bearing; handsome, imposing. [from 15th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.2:
      Portly his person was, and much increast
      Through his Heroicke grace and honourable gest.
    • 1728, Jonathan Swift, "A Dialogue between Mad Mullinix and Timothy":
      Be studious well to imitate
      My portly motion, mien, and gait

Usage notesEdit

  • When used to refer to someone who is overweight, portly is a less harsh term than fat.


Derived termsEdit


See alsoEdit

  • portly at OneLook Dictionary Search