- large in bodily size; stout; sturdy.
- bluff; brusque.
Origin of burly
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for burly
A burly Belgian, strapped with grenades and ammunition, towered above them.‘Argo’ in the Congo: The Ghosts of the Stanleyville Hostage Crisis
November 23, 2014
Based on his sock puppet, I expected him to be a burly bearded giant clad in plaid—basically, a Canadian Paul Bunyan.Canada’s Subversive Sock Puppet: Ed the Sock Isn’t Afraid to Say Anything
November 13, 2014
The film tells the story of Ron “Stray Dog” Hall, a burly, sixtysomething biker and Vietnam vet.Life After ‘Winter’s Bone’: Debra Granik on Finding J. Law and the Plight of the Female Director
October 24, 2014
She tried the direct, how-do-you-do handshake approach, but was blocked by a burly aide-de-camp.Andrew Cuomo Can't Ignore It Now: He's Weak Even at Home
September 10, 2014
In recent years, Montana has been electing a certain breed of burly, alpha male Democrats.Meet Montana's Nose-Ringed Candidate for the U.S. Senate
August 15, 2014
Some big, burly, brainless cur of a fellow was always ahead of me.
No burly drayman or big butts of beer, were wanted for apologies.Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
Old Dismukes was with them; burly, bushy, dingy, on a huge roan charger.The Cavalier
George Washington Cable
On the sidewalk, a queue of men was being held in line by a burly cop.The Heads of Apex
A burly man with bushy whiskers was waiting for us at the door.The Stark Munro Letters
J. Stark Munro
- large and thick of build; sturdy; stout
Word Origin and History for burly
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."