burly c.1300, perhaps from O.E. burlic "noble, stately," lit. "bowerly," fit to frequent a lady's apartment (see BOWER (Cf. bower)). Sense descended through "stout," and "sturdy" by 15c. to "heavily built." Another theory connects the original word to O.H.G. burlih "lofty, exalted," related to burjan "to raise, lift."

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Burly — Bur ly (b[^u]r l[y^]), a. [OE. burlich strong, excellent; perh. orig. fit for a lady s bower, hence handsome, manly, stout. Cf. {Bower}.] 1. Having a large, strong, or gross body; stout; lusty; now used chiefly of human beings, but formerly of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • burly — index strong Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • burly — husky, *muscular, brawny, athletic, sinewy Analogous words: corpulent, *fleshy, portly: bulky, substantial, *massive: *vigorous, lusty: *powerful, forceful, potent Antonyms: lanky, lank Contrasted words …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • burly — [adj] husky able bodied, athletic, beefcake*, beefy*, big, brawny, bruising, bulky, gorillalike, hefty, hulking, hulky, hunk, muscular, portly, powerful, stocky, stout, strapping, strong, sturdy, thickset, well built; concept 773 Ant. light, slim …   New thesaurus

  • burly — ► ADJECTIVE (burlier, burliest) ▪ (of a person) large and strong. DERIVATIVES burliness noun. ORIGIN probably from an Old English word meaning stately, fit for the bower …   English terms dictionary

  • burly — [bʉr′lē] adj. burlier, burliest [ME borlich, excellent, noble, handsome, altered (? by assoc. with bour,BOWER1) < OE borlice, very, excellently] 1. big and strong; heavy and muscular 2. rough and hearty in manner; bluff burliness n …   English World dictionary

  • burly — adjective a) Large, well built, and muscular. Hes a big, burly rugby player who works as a landscape gardener. b) Originating from the east end of London, England. An expressive term to mean something is good, awesome, amazing, unbelievable. e.g… …   Wiktionary

  • burly — bur|ly [ˈbə:li US ˈbə:rli] adj [Date: 1300 1400; Origin: burly noble, impressive (13 17 centuries), perhaps from an unrecorded Old English borlic excellent ] a burly man is big and strong ▪ a burly policeman …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • burly — UK [ˈbɜː(r)lɪ] / US [ˈbɜrlɪ] adjective Word forms burly : adjective burly comparative burlier superlative burliest a burly man is fat and strong Derived word: burliness noun uncountable …   English dictionary

  • burly — [[t]bɜ͟ː(r)li[/t]] burlier, burliest ADJ GRADED: usu ADJ n A burly man has a broad body and strong muscles. He was a big, burly man …   English dictionary

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