in a big way; greatly: Their gifts made the children smile bigly. Aaron was tall for his age, and bigly built.
strongly; with violent force: Waves pounded bigly against our starboard side.
boastfully; haughtily: She pronounces her opinions bigly, as if they are divine mandates.


pleasantly habitable: a settlement of modest but bigly homes.

Origin of bigly

1350–1400; Middle English; see big1 + -ly

Usage note

Adding the suffix -ly is a thoroughly standard way to form an adverb from an adjective. However, although bigly was in use from about 1400 to the early 1900s, it never quite caught on in English, perhaps because the adjective big also quite adequately functions as an adverb: to win big. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bigly

Historical Examples of bigly

  • The painting was simply done, commencing with the point of interest, the masses put in bigly, the details worked into them.

    The Life of James McNeill Whistler

    Elizabeth Robins Pennell

  • He was bigly made and his legs and arms were round, bolster fashion—huge thighs and small ankles, thick arms and slender wrists.


    Hugh Walpole

  • He was well made, cleanly and bigly, and neither too young nor too old.

  • Though thin, the man was bigly built, with broad shoulders and well-developed limbs, measuring a trifle under six feet in height.

    The Yellow God

    H. Rider Haggard

  • A Beelzebub; he spake as bigly and fiercely as a soaken yeoman at an election feast,—this obedient and conducible youth!