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
Dictionary entries near homely