[ urth-lee ]
/ ˈɜrθ li /

adjective, earth·li·er, earth·li·est.

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

before 1000; Middle English erth(e)ly, Old English eorthlīc. See earth, -ly


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.

Related forms

earth·li·ness, nounsu·per·earth·ly, adjective

Can be confused

earthly earthy (see synonym study at the current entry) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for earthly

British Dictionary definitions for earthly


/ (ˈɜːθlɪ) /

adjective -lier or -liest

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)

Derived Forms

earthliness, noun
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