a suffix forming adverbs from adjectives: gladly; gradually; secondly.See Grammar note at adverb.
a suffix meaning “every,” attached to certain nouns denoting units of time: hourly; daily.
an adjective suffix meaning “-like”: saintly; cowardly.

Nearby words

  1. -log,
  2. -logic,
  3. -logue,
  4. -logy,
  5. -long,
  6. -lyse,
  7. -lysis,
  8. -lyte,
  9. -lytic,
  10. -lyze

Origin of -ly

(adv.) Middle English -li, -lich(e), Old English -līce (-līc adj. suffix + -e adv. suffix); (adj.) Middle English -li, -ly, -lich(e), Old English -līc (cognate with German -lich), suffixal use of gelīc like1

3. See -ish1.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for -ly



suffix forming adjectives

having the nature or qualities ofbrotherly; godly
occurring at certain intervals; everydaily; yearly

Word Origin for -ly

Old English -lic

suffix forming adverbs

in a certain manner; to a certain degreequickly; recently; chiefly

Word Origin for -ly

Old English -lice, from -lic -ly 1

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

Word Origin and History for -ly
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper