See more synonyms for fairly on Thesaurus.com
  1. in a fair manner; justly or honestly; impartially.
  2. moderately; tolerably: a fairly heavy rain.
  3. properly; legitimately: a claim fairly made.
  4. clearly; distinctly: fairly seen.
  5. Chiefly Southern U.S.
    1. actually; completely: The wheels fairly spun.
    2. almost; practically: He slipped off the roof and fairly broke his neck.
  6. Obsolete. softly.
  7. Obsolete. courteously.

Origin of fairly

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at fair1, -ly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fairly

Contemporary Examples of fairly

Historical Examples of fairly

  • And there was the wench too—he had fairly forgotten her name.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • It was trusted often, was in attendance on the Emperor, and was fairly well paid.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • There is no height to which you may not fairly rise in this country.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • And yet in the end Pop was able to muster a fairly good imitation of a frown.

  • He could not go until he saw Mark fairly started on the way of recovery.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for fairly


  1. (not used with a negative) moderately
  2. as deserved; justly
  3. (not used with a negative) positively; absolutelythe hall fairly rang with applause
  4. archaic clearly
  5. obsolete courteously
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 fairly

c.1400, "handsomely," from fair (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "impartially" is from 1670s; "somewhat" is from 1805; meaning "totally" is earlier (1590s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper