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90s Slang You Should Know


[hohm-lee] /ˈhoʊm li/
adjective, homelier, homeliest.
lacking in physical attractiveness; not beautiful; unattractive:
a homely child.
not having elegance, refinement, or cultivation.
proper or suited to the home or to ordinary domestic life; plain; unpretentious:
homely food.
commonly seen or known.
Origin of homely
First recorded in 1300-50, homely is from the Middle English word homly. See home, -ly
Related forms
homeliness, noun
overhomeliness, noun
overhomely, adjective
unhomeliness, noun
unhomely, adjective
Can be confused
homely, homey.
homely, homily.
Synonym Study
1–3. Simple, homely (homey), homelike, plain imply absence of adornment or embellishment. Something that is simple is not elaborate or complex: a simple kind of dress. In the United States, homely usually suggests absence of natural beauty: an unattractive person almost homely enough to be called ugly. In England, the word suggests a wholesome simplicity without artificial refinement or elegance; since it characterizes that which is comfortable and attractive, it is equivalent to homey: a homely cottage. Homelike also emphasizes comfort and attractiveness, but it conveys less strongly than does homey a sense of intimate security: a homelike interior, arrangement, atmosphere. Something that is plain has little or no adornment: expensive but plain clothing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for homeliness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mrs. D., I felt, would appreciate the homeliness of that place of entertainment.

  • In her homeliness she presented a strange contrast to her surroundings.

    A Pirate of Parts Richard Neville
  • The wedding supper was charming in its simplicity and homeliness, using the word in its original sense.

    Eneas Africanus Harry Stillwell Edwards
  • It is the homeliness of a people without a home, without a country.

    Nights in London Thomas Burke
  • But it was wonderful, the homeliness and comfort found in those single apartment houses.

    The Underworld James C. Welsh
  • Even at that the English talk made my heart expand—the homeliness of it.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • Again, too, with our most imaginative works we mix a homeliness that we fancy touching, but which in reality is ludicrous.

    The Pilgrims Of The Rhine Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • There should be an air of homeliness and open hospitality about the place.

    The Complete Bachelor Walter Germain
  • They love the simplicity and homeliness of their own communion services and would not exchange them if they could.

British Dictionary definitions for homeliness


adjective -lier, -liest
characteristic of or suited to the ordinary home; unpretentious
(of a person)
  1. (Brit) warm and domesticated in manner or appearance
  2. (mainly US & Canadian) plain or ugly
Derived Forms
homeliness, 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 homeliness

mid-14c., from homely + -ness. Originally "meekness, gentleness," also "familiarity, intimacy; friendliness;" sense degenerated by c.1400 to "want of refinement in manners, coarseness; presumptuousness."



late 14c., "of or belonging to home or household, domestic," from Middle English hom "home" (see home (n.)) + -ly (2). Sense of "plain, unadorned, simple" is late 14c., and extension to "having a plain appearance, ugly, crude" took place c.1400, but now survives chiefly in U.S., especially in New England, where it was the usual term for "physically unattractive;" ugly being typically "ill-tempered."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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