[ kleer-lee ]
/ ˈklɪər li /
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in a clear manner: It is difficult to explain complex matters clearly.
without equivocation; decidedly: It is clearly out of the question to drop the case.


1 plainly, understandably.
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Origin of clearly

First recorded in 1250–1300, Middle English clerli; see clear, -ly

synonym study for clearly

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a basic definition of clearly?

Clearly means in a clear manner or way, without uncertainty. Clearly also means happening in a way that is obvious or occurring without question.

Clearly is an adverb formed from the word clear, which means free from obscurity or free from doubt. If something happens without blurriness or cloudiness, it happens clearly. For example, when you speak clearly, you are not mumbling or stuttering.

  • Real-life examples: Many people wear glasses to help them see clearly. Teachers try to explain subjects clearly to students so they don’t get confused or fail to understand the material. Many right-handed people struggle to write clearly with their left hand.
  • Used in a sentence: I couldn’t hear clearly because I had water in my ears. 

Clearly is also used to mean obviously, undoubtedly, or evidently. You might use this sense of clearly when you are so confident about something that you believe there is zero doubt about it, as when it is clearly a bad idea to eat a sandwich that has meat that expired a year ago. Clearly is often used in arguments and opinions, though. Just because a person uses the word clearly doesn’t mean there is no room for disagreement or doubt.

  • Used in a sentence: I am allergic to peanuts so it clearly wasn’t me who ate the last of the peanut butter. 

Where does clearly come from?

The first records of clearly come from around 1250. It comes from the Middle English word clerli and is an adverb formed from the word clear.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to clearly?

What are some synonyms for clearly?

What are some words that share a root or word element with clearly

What are some words that often get used in discussing clearly?

How is clearly used in real life?

Clearly is a common adverb that means happening in a way that is not blurred or that doesn’t leave room for doubt.

Try using clearly!

Which of the following words is a synonym of clearly?

A. debatably
B. confusingly
C. obviously
D. possibly

How to use clearly in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for clearly

/ (ˈklɪəlɪ) /

in a clear, distinct, or obvious mannerI could see everything quite clearly
(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