Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Conforming to standards of conduct and good taste; suitable: seemly behavior.
  • adj. Of pleasing appearance; handsome.
  • adv. In a seemly manner; suitably.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Appropriate.
  • adv. Appropriately, fittingly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Suited to the object, occasion, purpose, or character; suitable; fit; becoming; comely; decorous.
  • adv. In a decent or suitable manner; becomingly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Becoming; fit; suited to the object, occasion, purpose, or character; suitable; decent; proper.
  • Comely; goodly; handsome; beautiful.
  • In a decent or suitable manner; becomingly; fitly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. according with custom or propriety

Etymologies

Middle English semely, from Old Norse sœmiligr, from sœmr, fitting; see sem-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English semely. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I mean, they fought reporting on Lewisnky until Drudge forced their hand--but once he had forced their hand, it was an orgy of coverage along with a lot of self-flagellation about whether the orgy of coverage was seemly, which is something you don't see when it doesn't fit the left-leaning narrative.

    The accuser in the Duke rape case is publishing a memoir.

  • She was unveiled; indeed it was her immodest habit to go naked of face more often than was seemly, which is but the least of the many undesirable infidel ways which had survived her induction into the Faith of Islam -- a necessary step before

    The Sea-Hawk

  • But he was never free from solitary vice; he secretly envied those who had occasions for coitus in what I may call a seemly and cleanly manner, friends in the country with farm girls, etc., of whom he had heard.

    Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 Analysis of the Sexual Impulse; Love and Pain; The Sexual Impulse in Women

  • Such 'boldness and access with confidence' will often make short work of so-called seemly reverence, but it will never transgress by so much as a hair's-breadth the limits of lowly, trustful love.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture

  • She was travelling third class, for one of Lawrence's notions was that everybody did so, and when Joanna had given him her purse to buy her ticket it had never struck him that she did not consider third-class travel "seemly" in one of her sex and position.

    Joanna Godden

  • Next morning we improvised two coffins, contributed from the wardrobes of all hands enough black material for a "seemly" funeral, and later, steaming up the bay to a sandy stretch of land, buried the two parents with all the ceremonies of the Church -- and found ourselves left with five little mortals in black sitting on the grave mound.

    A Labrador Doctor The Autobiography of Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • He plans to leave the Royal Family's traditional celebrations at Sandringham as soon as it is 'seemly' and hop on a plane to the paradise isle where Chelsy and her extended family, including parents millionaire businessman Charles and his wife Beverly, are already spending Christmas on the beach with friends.

    Home | Mail Online

  • The wasp-waisted short jacket with its plunging neckline is a nod to both the seemly jackets in Christian Dior's 1947 New Look collection and the prominent décolletage in her former boss Vivienne Westwood's 1995 "Vive la Cocotte" show.

    Americana in Berlin, With Thanks to Elvis

  • Red looked around the house or to be correct what remained of the house police and forensic were scouring around like insects seemly not noticing the black clad strangers.

    Superhero Nation: how to write superhero novels and comic books » Wade’s Review Forum

  • Senator Clinton quoted Terence, the Roman poet, on the use of diplomacy: ‘In every endeavor, the seemly course for wise men is to try persuasion first.’

    Live Blog: Clinton’s Confirmation Hearing - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.