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COMELY

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COMELY

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:55 pm

• comely •

Pronunciation: kêm-lee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Pretty, attractive, fair, of moderate beauty. 2. Seemly, polite, becoming.

Notes: Although it is a bit awkward, today's adjective supports an adverb comelily as in: she wore all her clothes comelily. The adjective itself, without the second suffix -ly, sounds better, but it hasn't been used as an adverb since the 17th century. The noun from this adjective is comeliness.

In Play: If you wish to express the sentiment "pretty", why not use a pretty word? Today's Good Word fits the bill perfectly: "Maggie has a face of quite comely features, don't you think?" It also has the advantage of referring to actions as well as things: "I didn't think it very comely of Harold to shake hands with the men and kiss the women in the reception line."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a rarity: a word of totally English origin. It can be traced back to Old English cymlic "lovely, delicate" from cyme "beautiful" but is unrelated to the verb come. It is related, however, to the second meaning of become, as in a hat that becomes you or behavior unbecoming an officer. The suffix, -ly, is a shortened version of like, whittled down by time: both come from Old English lic. It is interesting that lic was a word that became a suffix in words like manly and fatherly. Now, it would seem that the modern version of the same word is repeating the process in words such as man-like and father-like.
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Postby Perry » Sun Apr 02, 2006 6:57 pm

So can a comely lass have a cyme hither expression on her face? (It's been so long since I have been the object of such look that I am starting to forget. LOL!)
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Postby Stargzer » Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:15 pm

I just ran across this nursery rhyme riddle showing usage of the word comely:

In Spring I look gay,
Decked in comely array,
In Summer more clothing I wear;
When colder it grows,
I fling off my clothes,
And in Winter quite naked appear.


Answer in next post!
Regards//Larry

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Postby Stargzer » Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:16 pm

In Spring I look gay,
Decked in comely array,
In Summer more clothing I wear;
When colder it grows,
I fling off my clothes,
And in Winter quite naked appear.

Answer: A Tree!
Regards//Larry

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