• -ly


    • enPR: lÄ“, IPA: /li/

    Origin 1

    From Middle English -ly, -li, -lich, from Old English -līċ, from Proto-Germanic *-līkaz ("having the body or form of"), from *līką ("body") (whence lich). Cognate with Dutch -lijk, German -lich and Swedish -lig, and with English -like (from Proto-Germanic *līka-).

    Full definition of -ly


    1. Used to form adjectives from nouns, the adjectives having the sense of "like or characteristic of what is denoted by the noun".friendly

    Origin 2

    From Old English -līċe.


    1. Used to form adverbs from adjectives.suddenly

    Usage notes

    In casual usage, -ly is sometimes omitted from adverbs (e.g., badly becomes bad). This is proscribed (considered improper grammar) by many: “I want it badly.” being preferred to “I want it bad.”, for example.

    Various sound changes and spelling changes occur for -ly:

    If an adjective ends with the letter y, it changes into i before adding the suffix (e.g. ready, readily).

    If an adjective ends with ble, these euphonically blend to bly, due to difficulty of pronouncing *blely. Examples include -ably and -ibly, but also feebly, nimbly, and nobly, among others.

    Derived terms

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