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adjective, wor·thi·er, wor·thi·est.
  1. having adequate or great merit, character, or value: a worthy successor.
  2. of commendable excellence or merit; deserving: a book worthy of praise; a person worthy to lead.
noun, plural wor·thies.
  1. 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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for worthiness


adjective -thier or -thiest
  1. (postpositive; often foll by of or an infinitive) having sufficient merit or value (for something or someone specified); deserving
  2. having worth, value, or merit
noun plural -thies
  1. 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