adjective, saint·li·er, saint·li·est.

pertaining to, like, or befitting a saint: saintly lives.

Origin of saintly

First recorded in 1650–60; saint + -ly
Related formssaint·li·ness, nounhy·per·saint·ly, adjectivequa·si-saint·ly, adjectivesu·per·saint·ly, adjectiveun·saint·ly, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for saintly

Contemporary Examples of saintly

Historical Examples of saintly

  • Wilfrid also was one of the saintly architects of the period.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • They penned me up here with these saintly mothers and these angelic children.

  • At the Tambov hermitage the anchorite Hilary, a man of saintly life, has died.

    Father Sergius

    Leo Tolstoy

  • She confided in me a little in those days, but ever with a most saintly resignation.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • "Indeed, none too saintly," said I, speaking my thoughts aloud.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for saintly


adjective -lier or -liest

like, relating to, or suitable for a saint
Derived Formssaintlily, adverbsaintliness, 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 saintly

1620s, from saint (n.) + -ly (1). Related: Saintliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper