homely (adj.) late 14c., "of or belonging to home or household, domestic," from M.E. hom "home" (see HOME (Cf. home) (n.)) + -LY (Cf. -ly) (2). Sense of "plain, unadorned, simple" is late 14c., and extension to "having a plain appearance, ugly, crude" took place c.1400, but now survives chiefly in U.S., especially in New England, where it was the usual term for "physically unattractive;" ugly being typically "ill-tempered."

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Homely — Home ly, a. [Compar. {Homelier}; superl. {Homeliest}.] [From {Home}, n.] 1. Belonging to, or having the characteristics of, home; domestic; familiar; intimate. [Archaic] [1913 Webster] With all these men I was right homely, and communed with,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • homely — The connotations of this word as applied to a person (usually a woman) are favourable in BrE, in which it means ‘simple, unpretentious’ and disparaging in AmE, in which it means ‘unattractive, dowdy’: • Homely and welcoming, owners Doug and Karen …   Modern English usage

  • Homely — Home ly, adv. Plainly; rudely; coarsely; as, homely dressed. [R.] Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • homely — [adj1] ordinary, comfortable comfy, cozy, domestic, everyday, familiar, friendly, homelike, homespun, homey, inelaborate, informal, modest, natural, plain, simple, snug, unaffected, unassuming, unostentatious, unpretentious, welcoming; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • homely — [hōm′lē] adj. homelier, homeliest [ME homli] 1. Obs. a) of the home; domestic b) HOMELIKE 2. a) characteristic of or suitable for home or home life; simple and unpretentious or plain and everyday …   English World dictionary

  • homely — index familiar (customary), inelegant, nondescript, ordinary Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • homely — *plain, simple, unpretentious Analogous words: *familiar, intimate, close: *usual, wonted, customary, habitual: ill favored, *ugly Antonyms: comely, bonny …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • homely — ► ADJECTIVE (homelier, homeliest) 1) Brit. simple but comfortable. 2) unsophisticated. 3) N. Amer. unattractive. DERIVATIVES homeliness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • homely — [[t]ho͟ʊmli[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED (approval) If you describe a room or house as homely, you like it because you feel comfortable and relaxed there. [mainly BRIT] I wanted a homely room but I wanted it to look smart, too... We try and provide a very… …   English dictionary

  • homely — homeliness, n. /hohm lee/, adj., homelier, homeliest. 1. lacking in physical attractiveness; not beautiful; unattractive: a homely child. 2. not having elegance, refinement, or cultivation. 3. proper or suited to the home or to ordinary domestic… …   Universalium

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