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[urth-lee] /ˈɜrθ li/
adjective, earthlier, earthliest.
of or relating to the earth, especially as opposed to heaven; worldly.
possible or conceivable:
an invention of no earthly use to anyone.
Origin of earthly
before 1000; Middle English erth(e)ly, Old English eorthlīc. See earth, -ly
Related forms
earthliness, noun
superearthly, adjective
Can be confused
earthly, earthy (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. secular, temporal, mortal. Earthly, terrestrial, worldly, mundane refer to that which is concerned with the earth literally or figuratively. Earthly now almost always implies a contrast to that which is heavenly: earthly pleasures; our earthly home. Terrestrial, from Latin, is the dignified equivalent of earthly, and it applies to the earth as a planet or to the land as opposed to the water: the terrestrial globe; terrestrial areas. Worldly is commonly used in the sense of being devoted to the vanities, cares, advantages, or gains of this present life to the exclusion of spiritual interests or the life to come: worldly success; worldly standards. Mundane, from Latin, is a formal equivalent of worldly and suggests that which is bound to the earth, is not exalted, and therefore is commonplace: mundane pursuits.
1. spiritual, divine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for earthliness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This earthliness is accentuated by the texture and colour of his skin.

  • And my chaster imperial love, what were you too but earthliness?


    Louis Couperus
  • While you bemoan our earthliness, you may not be the one saint among us.

    In the Footprints of the Padres Charles Warren Stoddard
  • Exultant hope, if tinged with earthliness, is crushed as the moth.

  • Life is but sorrow mingled with earthliness; but better and higher than Swinburne's thought is Wordsworth's teaching.

    The Quiver 12/1899 Anonymous
  • "I doubt whether their dust will mingle," remarked the old sculptor to me; for often there was an earthliness in his conceptions.

  • And the vague vision, though in becoming definite it had been transformed to earthliness, was none the less grand for that.

  • It was the human voice, cleared of all earthliness, and gushing through its organs with uncontrollable feeling and nature.

    Pencillings by the Way N. Parker Willis
  • I confess this last theory seems rank with earthliness—to belong to days forever past.

British Dictionary definitions for earthliness


adjective -lier, -liest
of or characteristic of the earth as opposed to heaven; material or materialistic; worldly
(usually used with a negative) (informal) conceivable or possible; feasible (in such phrases as not an earthly (chance), etc)
Derived Forms
earthliness, noun
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 earthliness



Old English eorþlic "earthly, worldly;" see earth + -ly (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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