- of or relating to the earth, especially as opposed to heaven; worldly.
- possible or conceivable: an invention of no earthly use to anyone.
Origin of earthly
1. secular, temporal, mortal. Earthly, terrestrial, worldly, mundane refer to that which is concerned with the earth literally or figuratively. Earthly now almost always implies a contrast to that which is heavenly: earthly pleasures; our earthly home. Terrestrial, from Latin, is the dignified equivalent of earthly, and it applies to the earth as a planet or to the land as opposed to the water: the terrestrial globe; terrestrial areas. Worldly is commonly used in the sense of being devoted to the vanities, cares, advantages, or gains of this present life to the exclusion of spiritual interests or the life to come: worldly success; worldly standards. Mundane, from Latin, is a formal equivalent of worldly and suggests that which is bound to the earth, is not exalted, and therefore is commonplace: mundane pursuits.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for earthliness
His earthliness places him not among those larger-than-life kind of heroes, but among the humble, quiet ones—a dervish hero.A Friend’s Tribute to Ambassador Chris Stevens: The Diplomatic Indiana Jones
September 13, 2012
This earthliness is accentuated by the texture and colour of his skin.Animal Life of the British Isles
And my chaster imperial love, what were you too but earthliness?Majesty
While you bemoan our earthliness, you may not be the one saint among us.In the Footprints of the Padres
Charles Warren Stoddard
Exultant hope, if tinged with earthliness, is crushed as the moth.Retrospection and Introspection
Mary Baker Eddy
Life is but sorrow mingled with earthliness; but better and higher than Swinburne's thought is Wordsworth's teaching.The Quiver 12/1899
- of or characteristic of the earth as opposed to heaven; material or materialistic; worldly
- (usually used with a negative) informal conceivable or possible; feasible (in such phrases as not an earthly (chance), etc)
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 earthliness
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper