Definition of worldly in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈwərldlē/

adjective (worldlier, worldliest)

1(Of a person) experienced and sophisticated: she was much more worldly than Nora and dismissed the slur
More example sentences
  • Younger people will ask you important and earnest questions only an experienced and worldly man of age can answer.
  • She uses particular features to portray herself as a sophisticated, worldly woman.
  • Australians love America, but any worldly person knows you do not threaten Aussies.
sophisticated, experienced, worldly-wise, knowledgeable, knowing, enlightened, shrewd, mature, seasoned, cosmopolitan, streetwise, street-smart, urbane, cultivated, cultured
2Of or concerned with material values or ordinary life rather than a spiritual existence: his ambitions for worldly success
More example sentences
  • At this age I've had a lot of career and I'm less concerned about my worldly success.
  • In a culture that measures everything in terms of size, success, and influence, we have to say no to these worldly values as well.
  • From his seat in exile at Rumtek, he had built a spiritual and worldly empire with millions of followers and extensive assets.
earthly, terrestrial, temporal, mundane;
mortal, human, material, materialistic, physical, this-worldly, carnal, fleshly, bodily, corporeal, sensual


worldly goods (or possessions or wealth)

Everything that someone owns.
Example sentences
  • Understanding that his spiritual development was more valuable than worldly wealth, he accepted, instead, 657 religious manuscripts.
  • Also, some of Carmena's worldly possessions were quite valuable.
  • With their donkeys carrying all their worldly possessions, they arrived following an exhausting trek four days ago.


Old English woruldlic (see world, -ly1).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: world·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.