-ly2 suffix forming advs. of manner. OE. -līċe, ME. -liche, -līke, -liʒe, -li(e) = OS., OHG. -līko (Du. -lijk, G. -lich), ON. -liga, Goth. -leikō: f. -LY1 with Gmc. adv. suffix *-ō. The Eng. forms in -li(e), -ly are due to ON. In Gmc. an adv, with this suffix no doubt orig. implied the existence of a corr. adj. in -LY1; in OE. some advs. are formed on simple adjs., as bealdlīċe BOLDLY, swētlīċe SWEETLY, and this type increased greatly in ME. The general sense is ‘in a manner characteristic of one who or a thing that is so-and-so’, hence, ‘in a so-and-so fashion’, ‘to a so-and-so degree’. Advs. referring to moments or periods of time, such as formerly, instantly, lately, quarterly, yearly, were prob. based at first on early; firstly, secondly, etc., were modelled on F. premièrement, L. primo, etc.; formations on sbs. such as namely, partly are prob. based on L. nominatim, partim; formations on pps., such as admittedly, allegedly have become frequent.
-ly1 suffix appended to sbs. and adjs. to form adjs. OE. -liċ, ME. -lich, -lik, -li, corr. to OS., OHG. -līk (Du. -lijk, G. -lich), ON. -ligr, -legr, Goth. -leiks. The Eng. forms in -li, -ly are due to ON. The orig. Gmc. adjs. were comps. of *līkam appearance, form, body (cf. SUCH, WHICH), e.g. *frijōndlika- friendly, having the appearance of a friend, *ʒōðalīka- goodly, having the appearance or form of what is good, of good appearance. The most general senses in all Gmc. langs. are ‘having the qualities appropriate to’, ‘characteristic of’, ‘befitting’; -ly was added to sbs. of alien orig., as courtly, princely, scholarly; formations on designations of things are infrequent, as earthly, heavenly, leisurely; exx. of -ly appended to adjs. are kindly, lowly, poorly, sickly. Deadly, likely, lively, lovely, only are exceptional in form. A further use is to denote periodic occurrence, e.g. daily, yearly.
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