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burly

[bur-lee]
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adjective, bur·li·er, bur·li·est.
  1. large in bodily size; stout; sturdy.
  2. bluff; brusque.
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Origin of burly

1250–1300; Middle English borli, burli, Old English borlīce (adv.) excellently, equivalent to bor(a) ruler + -līce -ly
Related formsbur·li·ly, adverbbur·li·ness, nounun·bur·ly, adjective

Synonyms

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1. strapping, stocky, brawny, thickset, beefy, hefty.

Antonyms

1. puny, weak, frail.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for burly

burly

adjective -lier or -liest
  1. large and thick of build; sturdy; stout
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Derived Formsburliness, noun

Word Origin

C13: of Germanic origin; compare Old High German burlīh lofty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for burly

adj.

c.1300, perhaps from Old English burlic "noble, stately," literally "bowerly," fit to frequent a lady's apartment (see bower). Sense descended through "stout," and "sturdy" by 15c. to "heavily built." Another theory connects the Old English word to Old High German burlih "lofty, exalted," related to burjan "to raise, lift."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper