Definition of portly in English:



  • 1(especially of a man) rather fat:

    ‘a portly little man with a bowler hat’
    • ‘Devlin swiveled around to see a short, portly man.’
    • ‘At that moment, the owner of the café - a large portly man with kind eyes but a stern mouth - came back behind the bar.’
    • ‘In the back of the restaurant, a rather portly man with graying hair sat down before a piano and placed his stubby fingers upon its glossy white keys.’
    • ‘The driver, a portly man of medium height and an officer, taller and slim, talked as the sunlight poked through the clouds, shielding their eyes from its glare.’
    • ‘Opposite, a portly gentleman with a magnificent beard adjusted his sword and bowed his head minutely in welcome.’
    • ‘He is portly and stern and looks at his watch a lot and Thomas and his pals are a bit frightened of him, but he gets results.’
    • ‘Eventually he started to talk with the bartender, a portly fellow with a large salt-and-pepper mustache and squinty eyes.’
    • ‘As a teenager, John was quite portly - yet with a bit of discipline and a lot of bullying, the freshman fatty soon became a sophomore slim.’
    • ‘I nodded and leaned against the bar, my eyes following Isabelle over to where a balding, portly fellow was sitting at the bar.’
    • ‘Osgood was a large, bearded portly gentleman who took life and mathematics very seriously and walked up and down in front of the blackboard making ponderous statements.’
    • ‘It took no more than a second for the door to snap open and a portly man to emerge, balancing two doughnuts precariously in one hand.’
    • ‘He is a rather portly man with wavy, sand coloured hair and a farmer's style shirt.’
    • ‘The fat portly man who had been questioning him turned to look at him, and Jason saw a snarl beneath the man's lips as he saw the figure stride forward.’
    • ‘They skulk at the back, where portly men are eating prawn sandwiches and muttering.’
    • ‘A short portly man with a bulbous nose and warm blue eyes - a Santa Claus without the beard - Drever is always talking and chuckling, ideas constantly bubbling up fast and furiously.’
    • ‘A portly man was already in there, looking rather casual and unshaven.’
    • ‘She looked across the plain room to where a small portly man sat behind a large oak table, his podgy hands resting in front of him.’
    • ‘The manager, a short, portly man of perhaps 55, looked at them in alarm from across his cluttered desk.’
    • ‘He may be crook but he's also a nice big portly guy.’
    • ‘King Francis, a portly man with a neat beard and light eyes, sat in an armchair before the fire, instructing one of the servants to place more logs in the hearth.’
    stout, plump, fat, overweight, heavy, corpulent, fleshy, paunchy, pot-bellied, beer-bellied, of ample build, ample, well upholstered, well padded, broad in the beam, rotund, roly-poly, round, rounded, stocky, bulky, falstaffian
    tubby, beefy, porky, pudgy, blubbery, poddy
    podgy, fubsy
    lard-assed, corn-fed
    View synonyms
  • 2archaic Of a stately or dignified appearance and manner:

    ‘he was a man of portly presence’


Late 15th century: from port in the sense bearing + -ly.