synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of fairly in English

English Online Dictionary. What means fairly‎? What does fairly mean?



From Middle English fayrly, fayrely, vayrliche, equivalent to fair +‎ -ly.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈfɛə(ɹ).li/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈfɛɹ.li/
  • Rhymes: -ɛə(ɹ)li
  • Hyphenation: fair‧ly


fairly (comparative more fairly, superlative most fairly)

  1. (manner) In a fair manner; not biased or skewed or favouring a certain party
    Synonyms: justly, frankly
  2. Favorably; auspiciously; commodiously.
  3. Honestly; properly.
    • 1859, Alexander Easton, A Practical Treatise on Street or Horse-Power Railways, p.108, "Rules adopted by the Sixth Avenue Railway, N. Y.":
      10. You will be civil and attentive to passengers, giving proper assistance to ladies and children getting in or out, and never start the car before passengers are fairly received or landed.
    • They burned the old gun that used to stand in the dark corner up in the garret, close to the stuffed fox that always grinned so fiercely. Perhaps the reason why he seemed in such a ghastly rage was that he did not come by his death fairly. Otherwise his pelt would not have been so perfect. And why else was he put away up there out of sight?—and so magnificent a brush as he had too. [].
  4. Softly; quietly; gently.
  5. (degree) Partly, not fully; somewhat.
    Synonyms: somewhat, pretty, quite, somewhat
  6. (dated) Almost; practically.
    • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard
      Betty grew so nervous and frightened, that she fairly bawled to her colleague, Moggy, and told her she would not stay in the room unless she sat up all night with her.

Usage notes

  • This is a non-descriptive qualifier, similar to quite and rather and somewhat, and some other adverbs of degree. Used where a plain adjective needs to be modified, but cannot be qualified. When spoken, the meaning can vary with the tone of voice and stress. He was fairly big can mean anything from "not exactly small" to "almost huge".


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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.