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  1. in a clear manner: It is difficult to explain complex matters clearly.
  2. without equivocation; decidedly: It is clearly out of the question to drop the case.

Origin of clearly

First recorded in 1250–1300, clearly is from the Middle English word clerli. See clear, -ly

Synonyms for clearly

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Synonym study

1. Clearly, definitely, distinctly, evidently imply the way in which something is plainly understood or understandable. Clearly suggests without doubt or obscurity: expressed clearly. Definitely means explicitly; with precision: definitely phrased. Distinctly means without blurring or confusion: distinctly enunciated. Evidently means patently, unquestionably: evidently an error. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for clearly


  1. in a clear, distinct, or obvious mannerI could see everything quite clearly
  2. (sentence modifier) it is obvious that; evidentlyclearly the social services must be flexible
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 clearly

c.1300, of vision and speech, from clear (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "evidently" is from 1560s; as a parenthetical expression in argument, "it is clear," recorded from 1867.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper