adjective, come·li·er, come·li·est.

pleasing in appearance; attractive; fair: a comely face.
proper; seemly; becoming: comely behavior.

Origin of comely

before 1000; Middle English cumli, Old English cȳmlīc lovely, equivalent to cȳme exquisite (cognate with Middle High German kūme weak, tender, German kaum (adv.) with difficulty, Old High German kūmo) + -līc -ly
Related formscome·li·ly, adverbcome·li·ness, nounun·come·ly, adjective

Synonyms for comely

Antonyms for comely Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for comely

Contemporary Examples of comely

  • Our biggest network comedy stars have almost all had a trim figure and a comely face.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Stand-Up Got Sexy

    Yael Kohen

    September 24, 2011

  • Shortly after midnight, she and her comely 21-year-old daughter, Beatrice, disappeared.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Fergie's Latest Flameout

    Tina Brown

    May 25, 2010

Historical Examples of comely

  • Her comely face was slightly flushed, doubtless with the exercise of walking.

  • Of all the sons of the plain, the bravest, and the most comely, was Edwin.


    William Godwin

  • Assuredly he will die of it—and he so young, Peppino, and so comely to behold!


    Raphael Sabatini

  • His face was comely as a damsel's, his eyes blue and his hair golden.


    Raphael Sabatini

  • No one could get on terms with those fresh and comely young monsters!


    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for comely


adjective -lier or -liest

good-looking; attractive
Derived Formscomeliness, noun

Word Origin for comely

Old English cӯmlīc beautiful; related to Old High German cūmi frail, Middle High German komlīche suitably
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 comely

"beautiful, handsome," c.1400, probably from Old English cymlic "lovely, splendid, finely made," from cyme "exquisite, glorious, delicate," from West Germanic *kumi- "delicate, feeble" (cf. Old High German chumo "with difficulty," chumig "weak, delicate;" German kaum "hardly, scarcely"). Or perhaps the modern word is from Middle English bicumelic (c.1200) "suitable, exquisite," literally "becomely" (cf. becoming).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper