- beloved or loved: a dear friend.
- (used in the salutation of a letter as an expression of affection or respect or as a conventional greeting): Dear Sir.
- precious in one's regard; cherished: our dearest possessions.
- heartfelt; earnest: one's dearest wish.
- high-priced; expensive: The silk dress was too dear.
- charging high prices: That shop is too dear for my budget.
- excessive; high: a dear price to pay for one's independence.
- Obsolete. difficult to get; scarce.
- Obsolete. worthy; honorable.
- a person who is good, kind, or generous: You're a dear to help me with the work.
- a beloved one.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) an affectionate or familiar term of address, as to a child or romantic partner (sometimes offensive when used to a stranger, subordinate, etc.)
- dearly; fondly.
- at a high price: That painting cost me dear.
- (used as an exclamation of surprise, distress, etc.): Oh dear, what a disappointment! Dear me! What's all that noise?
Origin of dear1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dearly
Before 2010, the bank essentially turned a blind eye to large cash deposits and withdrawals, which cost them dearly.The Money-Laundering Vatican Bank Comes Clean
Barbie Latza Nadeau
May 19, 2014
She told students the story of how she came to value education so dearly.Rutgers’s Silly Condoleezza Rice Protest
Kristen Soltis Anderson
May 5, 2014
Right now, it is failing—and failing those of us that love it dearly.Israel Must Take a More Diplomatic Approach Toward Iran
December 17, 2013
Perhaps these relatively new ways of regarding poetry have not cost it too dearly.Liberate Poetry! Robert Pinsky’s Manifesto for Readers
August 26, 2013
They value our recognition too dearly for us to give it away!A Confession on the Ninth of Av
July 15, 2013
That I love you most dearly, and hate the French most damnably.The Life of Horatio Lord Nelson
But it was almost enough—almost, not quite, dearly as she prized it.The Fortune Hunter
Louis Joseph Vance
He loved her dearly; but at that age her qualities were half developed.Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete
In fact, young Gruffyd was proud of his mother and he loved her dearly.Welsh Fairy Tales
William Elliott Griffis
I love them dearly; no people could ever be kinder to a thankless creature than they always are to me.Little Dorrit
- very muchI would dearly like you to go
- at a great cost
- beloved; precious
- used in conventional forms of address preceding a title or name, as in Dear Sir or my dear Mr Smith
- (postpositive foll by to) important; closea wish dear to her heart
- highly priced
- charging high prices
- appealing or prettywhat a dear little ring!
- for dear life urgently or with extreme vigour or desperation
- used in exclamations of surprise or dismay, such as Oh dear! and dear me!
- (often used in direct address) someone regarded with affection and tenderness; darling
- dearlyhis errors have cost him dear
Word Origin and History for dearly
Old English deorlice (see dear).
Old English deore "precious, valuable, costly, loved, beloved," from Proto-Germanic *deurjaz (cf. Old Saxon diuri, Old Norse dyrr, Old Frisian diore, Middle Dutch dure, Dutch duur, Old High German tiuri, German teuer), ultimate origin unknown. Used interjectorily since 1690s. As a polite introductory word to letters, it is attested from mid-15c. As a noun, from late 14c., perhaps short for dear one, etc.