adjective, wor·thi·er, wor·thi·est.

having adequate or great merit, character, or value: a worthy successor.
of commendable excellence or merit; deserving: a book worthy of praise; a person worthy to lead.

noun, plural wor·thies.

a person of eminent worth, merit, or position: The town worthies included two doctors.

Origin of worthy

Middle English word dating back to 1175–1225; see origin at worth1, -y1
Related formswor·thi·ly, adverbwor·thi·ness, nounpre·wor·thi·ly, adverbpre·wor·thi·ness, nounpre·wor·thy, adjective

Synonyms for worthy

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for worthiness

Contemporary Examples of worthiness

Historical Examples of worthiness

  • His worthiness is not the point, but whether he can indemnify you.

    Magnum Bonum

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Now such persons would do well to understand that they are completely mistaken in their estimate of what "worthiness" really is.

    Practical Religion

    John Charles Ryle

  • Beggars before these shrines are apt to display these passbooks as an evidence of their worthiness and need.

  • At the end of the curious but interesting exhibition, his worthiness Ranuzer asked the prince if he was satisfied.

    The Pharaoh and the Priest

    Alexander Glovatski

  • Send couriers, worthiness, to Memphis immediately, for I fear that the high priests have done something evil.

    The Pharaoh and the Priest

    Alexander Glovatski

British Dictionary definitions for worthiness


adjective -thier or -thiest

(postpositive; often foll by of or an infinitive) having sufficient merit or value (for something or someone specified); deserving
having worth, value, or merit

noun plural -thies

often facetious a person of distinguished character, merit, or importance
Derived Formsworthily, adverbworthiness, 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 worthiness



mid-13c., "having merit," from worth (n.) + -y (2). Old English had weorþful in this sense. Attested from c.1300 as a noun meaning "person of merit" (especially in Nine Worthies, famous men of history and legend: Joshua, David, Judas Maccabæus, Hector, Alexander, Julius Cæsar, Arthur, Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon -- three Jews, three gentiles, three Christians).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper