adjective, love·li·er, love·li·est.

noun, plural love·lies.

Informal. a beautiful woman, especially a show girl.
any person or thing that is pleasing, highly satisfying, or the like: Every car in the new line is a lovely.


Nonstandard. very well; splendidly.

Origin of lovely

before 900; Middle English luvelich, Old English luflīc amiable. See love, -ly
Related formslove·li·ly, adverblove·li·ness, noun

Synonym study

1, 2. See beautiful. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lovely

Contemporary Examples of lovely

Historical Examples of lovely

  • Philothea's tall figure was a lovely union of majesty and grace.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Did he tell you how to make a lovely asparagus short-cake or something?

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • That graceful maiden is too lovely for any destiny meaner than a royal marriage.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Never is the city so lovely as in this month of May, when all the trees are in the fullness of their foliage.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • Her first thought was of the lovely things of the country and the joy of them.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for lovely


adjective -lier or -liest

very attractive or beautiful
highly pleasing or enjoyablea lovely time
loving and attentive
inspiring love; lovable

noun plural -lies

slang a lovely woman
Derived Formsloveliness, 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

Word Origin and History for lovely

Old English luflic "affectionate, loveable;" see love (n.) + -ly (1). The modern sense of "lovable on account of beauty, attractive" is from c.1300, "applied indiscriminately to all pleasing material objects, from a piece of plum-cake to a Gothic cathedral" [George P. Marsh, "The Origin and History of the English Language," 1862].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper