homely

Homely describes someone who's plain or unattractive, like your homely Aunt Agnes or her squish-faced bulldog.

The adjective homely is a slightly more gentle word than ugly, with a meaning closer to "plain" than "hideous." It's almost always used to describe a less-than-attractive person, and occasionally an animal. If you were British, you'd use homely to mean "cozy and homelike," but in the United States you'd say "homey". Be careful not to confuse homey with homely, or you could accidentally hurt someone's feelings.

Definitions of homely
  1. adjective
    lacking in physical beauty or proportion
    “a homely child”
    “several of the buildings were downright homely
    synonyms: plain
    unattractive
    lacking beauty or charm
  2. adjective
    without artificial refinement or elegance
    “plain homely furniture”
    homely manners”
    Synonyms:
    inelegant
    lacking in refinement or grace or good taste
  3. adjective
    plain and unpretentious
    homely truths”
    “letters to his son full of homely advice”
    homely fare”
    Synonyms:
    plain
    not elaborate or elaborated; simple
  4. adjective
    having a feeling of home; cozy and comfortable
    “the homely everyday atmosphere”
    synonyms: homelike, homey, homy
    comfortable, comfy
    providing or experiencing physical well-being or relief (`comfy' is informal)
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week