homely (adj.)

late 14c., "of or belonging to home or household, domestic," from Middle English hom "home" (see home (n.)) + -ly (1). Sense of "plain, unadorned, simple" (as domestic scenes often were) is late 14c., and extension to "having a plain appearance, without particular beauty of features, crude" took place c. 1400, but survived chiefly in U.S., especially in New England, where it was the usual term for "physically unattractive;" ugly meaning typically "ill-tempered." In the old sense of "domestic, of or pertaining to domestic life," homish (1560s) and homelike (1789) have been used.

updated on August 09, 2015

Definitions of homely from WordNet

homely (adj.)
lacking in physical beauty or proportion;
a homely child
several of the buildings were downright homely
Synonyms: plain
homely (adj.)
having a feeling of home; cozy and comfortable;
the homely everyday atmosphere
Synonyms: homelike / homey / homy
homely (adj.)
plain and unpretentious;
homely truths
letters to his son full of homely advice
homely fare
homely (adj.)
without artificial refinement or elegance;
plain homely furniture
homely manners
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