Definition of worldly in US English:

worldly

adjective

  • 1(of a person) experienced and sophisticated.

    ‘she was much more worldly than Nora and dismissed the slur’
    • ‘He's a very interesting, very worldly man and he is interested in me.’
    • ‘However she was hardly a naive character falling for the guile of worldly men.’
    • ‘My parents didn't have any money but they were worldly and very practical.’
    • ‘These kinds of horror stories might scare kids, but they're unlikely to scare worldly adults.’
    • ‘Looking to the side, he is more worldly than she, more concerned with what others are doing and thinking.’
    • ‘She knew that if she poised her laughs right, she sounded sophisticated and worldly.’
    • ‘Blinkered voters get the parochial leaders they want rather than the worldly leaders they presumably need.’
    • ‘In important although quite different ways, these women are more worldly and stronger than he.’
    • ‘Australians love America, but any worldly person knows you do not threaten Aussies.’
    • ‘They are worldly, intelligent, well-read and hopeful about having a decent future.’
    • ‘They celebrated China as a great nation and presented themselves as worldly cosmopolitans.’
    • ‘As he grew older, his comedy expanded and became at the same time more personal and more worldly.’
    • ‘The cops have copies of emails from a naïve analyst to his more worldly colleagues.’
    • ‘She uses particular features to portray herself as a sophisticated, worldly woman.’
    • ‘He seems to represent the sort of man she has dreamed about - worldly, charming and cultured.’
    • ‘He was an intelligent, worldly man whose passion for social equality and justice impressed her greatly.’
    • ‘Selfless work done with full heart and perfection is the best way for the worldly person to realize his inner Self.’
    • ‘For his age, Pyp was a clever child and the past weeks had matured him into a little worldly man.’
    • ‘Younger people will ask you important and earnest questions only an experienced and worldly man of age can answer.’
    • ‘Her experiences in Mozambique had made her much more worldly than the girls she would encounter at school in America.’
    sophisticated, experienced, worldly-wise, knowledgeable, knowing, aware, enlightened, shrewd, astute, perceptive, media-savvy, mature, seasoned, cosmopolitan, urbane, cultivated, cultured, unprovincial
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  • 2Of or concerned with material values or ordinary life rather than a spiritual existence.

    ‘his ambitions for worldly success’
    • ‘At this age I've had a lot of career and I'm less concerned about my worldly success.’
    • ‘Which is more important, the worldly existence or the heavenly one?’
    • ‘From his seat in exile at Rumtek, he had built a spiritual and worldly empire with millions of followers and extensive assets.’
    • ‘All the above men wanted a more spiritual and less worldly religion.’
    • ‘Her response is to renegotiate the boundaries between spiritual faith and worldly economies.’
    • ‘To some the praise of politicians may seem but the glorification of worldly success.’
    • ‘Religion advocates that we must renounce all worldly material things and become ascetics.’
    • ‘The appeal was to civic conscience rather than worldly vanity: someone had to perform this important task.’
    • ‘Another delegation tries to get in, this one with more worldly clout and more success.’
    • ‘But another part of me says that you can't split the spiritual and the worldly quite so easily.’
    • ‘Not all the Reformers were willing to make the clear separation between the worldly and the spiritual kingdoms that Luther made.’
    • ‘Honour, duty and order had always driven him, and earned him worldly success despite that relative lack of ambition.’
    • ‘He had discovered a middle way, free from attachment to either worldly or spiritual identity.’
    • ‘During the walk in the dark you are meant to let go of worldly concerns.’
    • ‘The pride of worldly success will not bring any lasting peace and can quite easily destroy a person's soul.’
    • ‘How, it asks, is poetic talent related to worldly success, and ought one to live if the talent burns out?’
    • ‘She was concerned in a variety of other ways to look after his welfare, both spiritual and worldly.’
    • ‘Franklin's recognition of ceramics and silver as potent symbols of worldly success rang true.’
    • ‘Bathed in the red morning light he looked like a young angel - albeit a rather worldly one.’
    • ‘In a culture that measures everything in terms of size, success, and influence, we have to say no to these worldly values as well.’
    earthly, terrestrial, temporal, mundane, mortal, human, non-spiritual, unspiritual, material, materialistic, physical, tangible, carnal, fleshly, bodily, corporeal, gross, sensual, base, sordid, vile, profane
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Phrases

  • worldly goods (or possessions or wealth)

    • Everything that someone owns.

      • ‘It was here that the worldly possessions of a million innocents were sifted of valuables and stored.’
      • ‘He walks in as he does almost every day: sporting his iconic tortoise shell glasses, trademark cane and toting a backpack filled with all his worldly possessions.’
      • ‘With that the human soul itself is undermined, both in its worldly wealth and its spiritual life.’
      • ‘With their donkeys carrying all their worldly possessions, they arrived following an exhausting trek four days ago.’
      • ‘How can it be possible that Australians support a position where 460 desperate human beings without homes or worldly possessions are turned away from our shore when we have so very much ourselves?’
      • ‘Understanding that his spiritual development was more valuable than worldly wealth, he accepted, instead, 657 religious manuscripts.’
      • ‘A year ago today, my then-fiancée (now wife) and I stepped off the British Airways flight from London, all our worldly possessions packed into suitcases in the hold or stacked in a container in the bowels of a ship.’
      • ‘Also, some of Carmena's worldly possessions were quite valuable.’
      • ‘I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, and most importantly, the trust of my friends and family.’
      • ‘Marcus just e-mailed me to say that the container holding all our worldly possessions is scheduled to set sail for Trinidad on February 9th.’
      belongings, possessions, stuff, property, worldly goods, goods, personal effects, effects, paraphernalia, impedimenta, bits and pieces, bits and bobs
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Origin

Old English woruldlic (see world, -ly).

Pronunciation

worldly

/ˈwərldlē//ˈwərldli/