adjective, sick·li·er, sick·li·est.
  1. not strong; unhealthy; ailing.
  2. of, connected with, or arising from ill health: a sickly complexion.
  3. marked by the prevalence of ill health, as a region: the epidemic left the town sickly.
  4. causing sickness.
  5. nauseating.
  6. maudlin and insipid; mawkish: sickly sentimentality.
  7. faint or feeble, as light or color.
  1. in a sick or sickly manner.
verb (used with object), sick·lied, sick·ly·ing.
  1. to cover with a sickly hue.

Origin of sickly

1300–50; Middle English siklich, sekly (adj.). See sick1, -ly
Related formssick·li·ness, noun

Synonyms for sickly Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for sick-lied


adjective -lier or -liest
  1. disposed to frequent ailments; not healthy; weak
  2. of, relating to, or caused by sickness
  3. (of a smell, taste, etc) causing revulsion or nausea
  4. (of light or colour) faint or feeble
  5. mawkish; insipidsickly affectation
  1. in a sick or sickly manner
Derived Formssickliness, 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 sick-lied



late 14c., "ill, invalid, habitually ailing," from sick (adj.) + -ly (1). Meaning "causing sickness" in any sense is from c.1600. Related: Sickliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper