Etymology
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seemly (adj.)

c. 1200, semeli, semlich, of persons, "of pleasing or good appearance, handsome, fair," also, of conduct, "proper, tasteful, decorous; good for a purpose," and generally, "pleasant, suitable, fitting," probably from Old Norse soemiligr "becoming, honorable," from soemr "fitting" (see seem).

The notion is "suited to the object, occasion, purpose, or character." From late 14c. as "worthy of respect, honorable." Related: Seemliness. A  document from 1440 has seemlity. Old Norse had also soemleitr "fine to look at."

updated on April 13, 2022

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