Definitions

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

  • adj. Pleasing and wholesome in appearance; attractive. See Synonyms at beautiful.
  • adj. Suitable; seemly: comely behavior.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Pleasing or attractive to the eye.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pleasing or agreeable to the sight; well-proportioned; good-looking; handsome.
  • adj. Suitable or becoming; proper; agreeable.
  • adv. In a becoming manner.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Decent; suitable; proper; becoming; suited to time, place, circumstances, or persons.
  • Handsome; graceful; symmetrical; pleasing in appearance: said of the person or of any part of it, and also of things.
  • Synonyms Handsome, Pretty, etc. See beautiful.
  • Suitably or fittingly; gracefully; handsomely; in a pleasing manner.

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

  • adj. very pleasing to the eye
  • adj. according with custom or propriety

Etymologies

Middle English comli, alteration (probably influenced by bicomli, seemly) of cumli, from Old English cȳmlic, lovely, delicate, from cȳme, beautiful.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English cȳmlīċ, from cȳme ("fine, exquisite"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • On January 21st, 1580, the House adopted a resolution stating that Members "should depart and go forth in comely and civil sort for the reverence of the House; in turning about with a low courtesy like as they do make at their coming into the House; and not so unseemingly and rudely to thrust and thrung out as of late time hath been disorderly used."

    Summoned to the Bar

  • This epitaph was written in elegant Latin, but for the convenience of all it was necessary to translate it, although the word comely is feeble beside that of formosa, which signifies beautiful in shape.

    Droll Stories — Volume 2

  • In short, he might pass for what is commonly called a comely black man, with an air of distinction natural to his birth and condition.

    Memoirs of Fanny Hill.

  • He makes it according to the beauty of a man, in comely proportion, with those limbs and lineaments that are the beauty of a man, but are altogether unfit to represent the beauty of the Lord.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • "Now that's what I calls a comely lad!" continued Nabbem, pointing to the latter horseman; "none of your thin-faced, dark, strapping fellows like that

    Paul Clifford — Volume 06

  • And when they had taken it out, the body was so firm that it bent not on either side, and the flesh so firm and comely, that is seemed as if he were yet alive.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 4

  • I recall a comely plant, for instance, seven feet high at the end of June, though now slumbering underground, in the Chemin de Saint Jacques -- there, where the steps begin ----

    Alone

  • Anyone would have called her comely, and there were, indeed, no women in Stukely's barn to compare with her in that respect, a fact that she recognized.

    Masters of the Wheat-Lands

  • Anyone would have called her comely, and there was, indeed, no women in Stukely's barn to compare with her in that respect, which was a fact she recognised, while every line and pose of her figure seemed expressive of an effervescent vitality.

    Hawtrey's Deputy

  • Whether or not she could be called a comely woman might have furnished matter for male discussion; the prevailing voice of her own sex would have denied her charm of feature.

    The Odd Women

Comments

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  • ".. Our Lady of the Cherries, a comely brace of them pendent from an ear, bringing out the foreign warmth of the skin so daintily against the cool ardent fruit."
    Joyce, Ulysses, 14

    January 27, 2007

  • wide hips thin waist... I like those paintings

    December 7, 2006