View synonyms for homely


[ hohm-lee ]


, home·li·er, home·li·est.
  1. lacking in physical attractiveness; not beautiful; unattractive:

    a homely child.

  2. not having elegance, refinement, or cultivation.
  3. proper or suited to the home or to ordinary domestic life; plain; unpretentious:

    homely food.

  4. commonly seen or known.


/ ˈhəʊmlɪ /


  1. characteristic of or suited to the ordinary home; unpretentious
  2. of a person
    1. warm and domesticated in manner or appearance
    2. plain or ugly
“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

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Derived Forms

  • ˈhomeliness, noun
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Other Words From

  • homeli·ness noun
  • over·homeli·ness noun
  • over·homely adjective
  • un·homeli·ness noun
  • un·homely adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of homely1

First recorded in 1300–50, homely is from the Middle English word homly. See home, -ly
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Synonym Study

Simple, homely ( homey ), homelike, plain imply absence of adornment or embellishment. Something that is simple is not elaborate or complex: a simple kind of dress. In the United States, homely usually suggests absence of natural beauty: an unattractive person almost homely enough to be called ugly. In England, the word suggests a wholesome simplicity without artificial refinement or elegance; since it characterizes that which is comfortable and attractive, it is equivalent to homey : a homely cottage. Homelike also emphasizes comfort and attractiveness, but it conveys less strongly than does homey a sense of intimate security: a homelike interior, arrangement, atmosphere. Something that is plain has little or no adornment: expensive but plain clothing.
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Example Sentences

The homely original 1999 Honda Insight hybrid-electric is the appearance they sought to avoid.

The Ugly Duckling, by Martha StewartI recently helped a homely little bird transform herself into a beautiful swan.

I resolve to only go out with plain or even rather homely girls.

Up From Slavery is a book written in a direct style, using a simple vocabulary and homely humor.

Others this season stood by their affection for homely beauty and baroque extravagance.

When she had a makeover in August 2009, those who fell in love with the homely homebody almost had a collective breakdown.

"Men who are viewed as being below average or homely are penalized" when it comes to wages.

She was a homely woman, with a small weazened face and body and eyes that glowed.

Even Tim, so fine and big, had in this homely, lanky man a rival well worth watching.

She felt very sorrowful as she smoothed the homely garments, and placed them in a small leathern trunk.

The homely but substantial dinner was smoking on the table, and Joe's wife was already in her place at the head of the board.

Keep her there; for nature plainly intended her for a homely woman—Didst ever quarrel with her before marriage?


Related Words




home loanhomemade