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[kuhm-lee] /ˈkʌm li/
adjective, comelier, comeliest.
pleasing in appearance; attractive; fair:
a comely face.
proper; seemly; becoming:
comely behavior.
Origin of comely
before 1000; Middle English cumli, Old English cȳmlīc lovely, equivalent to cȳme exquisite (cognate with Middle High German kūme weak, tender, German kaum (adv.) with difficulty, Old High German kūmo) + -līc -ly
Related forms
comelily, adverb
comeliness, noun
uncomely, adjective
1. pretty, handsome, beautiful, good-looking, personable.
1. unattractive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for comely
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Her comely face was slightly flushed, doubtless with the exercise of walking.

  • Of all the sons of the plain, the bravest, and the most comely, was Edwin.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • Assuredly he will die of it—and he so young, Peppino, and so comely to behold!

    Love-at-Arms Raphael Sabatini
  • His face was comely as a damsel's, his eyes blue and his hair golden.

    Love-at-Arms Raphael Sabatini
  • No one could get on terms with those fresh and comely young monsters!

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • Of course, aught should serve here that were decent and comely.

    Clare Avery Emily Sarah Holt
  • Both were comely, with delicate features full of sensibility.

  • But there is no spur so galling as the derisive smile of a comely young woman.

    Bloom of Cactus Robert Ames Bennet
British Dictionary definitions for comely


adjective -lier, -liest
good-looking; attractive
Derived Forms
comeliness, noun
Word Origin
Old English cӯmlīc beautiful; related to Old High German cūmi frail, Middle High German komlīche suitably
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
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Word Origin and History for comely

"beautiful, handsome," c.1400, probably from Old English cymlic "lovely, splendid, finely made," from cyme "exquisite, glorious, delicate," from West Germanic *kumi- "delicate, feeble" (cf. Old High German chumo "with difficulty," chumig "weak, delicate;" German kaum "hardly, scarcely"). Or perhaps the modern word is from Middle English bicumelic (c.1200) "suitable, exquisite," literally "becomely" (cf. becoming).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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