See more synonyms for seemly on
adjective, seem·li·er, seem·li·est.
  1. fitting or becoming with respect to propriety or good taste; decent; decorous: Your outburst of rage was hardly seemly.
  2. suitable or appropriate; fitting: a seemly gesture.
  3. of pleasing appearance; handsome.
  1. in a seemly manner; fittingly; becomingly.

Origin of seemly

1175–1225; Middle English semely < Old Norse sæmiligr honorable; derivative of sœmr (see seem)
Related formsseem·li·ness, noun

Synonyms for seemly

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for seemly

Historical Examples of seemly

  • More than a bare recital of the wretched facts, therefore, is not seemly.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The kindliness of her heart and her desire for the seemly joys of life were unweakened.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It is not seemly; moreover, notice must be given and arrangement made.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • Things may perhaps occur which it is not seemly your gentle eyes should witness.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Whether he was or not, he conceived that he had done the only seemly thing.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for seemly


adjective -lier or -liest
  1. proper or fitting
  2. obsolete pleasing or handsome in appearance
  1. archaic properly or decorously
Derived Formsseemliness, noun

Word Origin for seemly

C13: from Old Norse sœomiligr, from sœmr befitting
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 seemly

"of pleasing or good appearance," also "proper, tasteful, decorous," early 13c., semlich, from Old Norse soemiligr "becoming, honorable," from soemr (see seem). Related: Seemliness. Cf. Old Norse soemleitr "fine to look at."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper