Definition of portly in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpôrtlē/

adjective (portlier, portliest)

1(Especially of a man) having a stout body; somewhat fat.
Example sentences
  • Her portly body was perched on a small stool precariously, looking like she would fall off if she shifted even slightly.
  • Jack has the body of a portly, suited figure much given to lunching.
  • ‘It used to be a story that made us weep only,’ said Nabih al-Ibrahim, 42, a portly civil engineer running for a city council seat.
informal tubby, roly-poly, beefy, porky, pudgy
informal corn-fed
2 archaic Of a stately or dignified appearance and manner: he was a man of portly presence



Pronunciation: /ˈpôrtlēnəs/
Example sentences
  • In June a House subcommittee held hearings on the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act, which would prevent fat people from winning damages by blaming restaurants, food manufacturers, or retailers for their portliness.
  • The gentleman had had a propensity to a degree of portliness of late, but his tummy visibly trimmed as the canvass progressed, and he admitted to be wearing slacks into which he hadn't fitted for years.
  • Gone are the days when only the super-rich could afford to eat plenty, making portliness a sign of high social standing.


Late 15th century: from port5 in the sense 'bearing' + -ly1.

Words that rhyme with portly


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: port·ly

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words