adjective, state·li·er, state·li·est.

majestic; imposing in magnificence, elegance, etc.: a stately home.


in a stately manner.

Origin of stately

First recorded in 1350–1400, stately is from the Middle English word statly. See state, -ly
Related formsstate·li·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stately

Contemporary Examples of stately

Historical Examples of stately

  • Over the octagonal window, too, such draperies fell in stately lines.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Eudora paced down the sidewalk with a magnificent, stately gait.

    The Yates Pride

    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

  • Stately priests in long chitons paced to the music of flutes.

  • Adv.: wsa fengel geatolc gengde, passed on in a stately manner, 1402.



  • The stately residence of Monseigneur was altogether blighted and deserted.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for stately


adjective -lier or -liest

characterized by a graceful, dignified, and imposing appearance or manner


in a stately manner
Derived Formsstateliness, 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 stately

"noble, splendid," late 14c., from state (n.1) in a sense of "costly and imposing display" (such as benefits a person of rank and wealth), early 14c.; a sense also preserved in the phrase to lie in state "to be ceremoniously exposed to view before interment" (1705). Hence also stateroom.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper