• IPA: /ˈwɜː(ɹ)ldli/

worldly (comparative worldlier, superlative worldliest)

  1. Concerned with human or earthly matters, physical as opposed to spiritual.
    • 1868, Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, Part Two, Chapter Twenty-four: Gossip,
      These attributes, in spite of poverty and the strict integrity which shut him out from the more worldly successes, attracted to him many admirable persons, as naturally as sweet herbs draw bees, and as naturally he gave them the honey into which fifty years of hard experience had distilled no bitter drop.
    • circa 1883-1896 Vyasa, Kisari Mohan Ganguli (translator), The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva, Section LXXXV,
      Thirst of enjoyment, therefore, should be given up. Indeed, true happiness belongeth to them that have cast off their thirst for worldly objects--a thirst which is difficult to be thrown off by the wicked and the sinful, which faileth not with the failing life, and which is truly the fatal disease of man.
    • 1889, Leo Tolstoy, Huntington Smith (translator), My Religion, Chapter VIII,
      The conviction that my personal, worldly life was something real and good constituted the misunderstanding, the obstacle, that prevented me from comprehending Jesus doctrine.
    • 1910, G. K. Chesterton, What's Wrong with the World, Chapter 1, part 3,
      We have actually contrived to invent a new kind of hypocrite. The old hypocrite, Tartuffe or Pecksniff, was a man whose aims were really worldly and practical, while he pretended that they were religious. The new hypocrite is one whose aims are really religious, while he pretends that they are worldly and practical.
    Synonyms: material, mundane, sublunar
    Antonyms: otherworldly, spiritual
  2. Concerned with secular rather than sacred matters.
    Synonyms: lay, profane
    Antonyms: clerical, religious, sacred
  3. Sophisticated, especially because of surfeit; versed in the ways of the world.
    Synonyms: sophisticated, street-smart
    Antonyms: naive
Translations Translations Translations
  • German: weltgewandt, weltmännisch
  • Russian: о́пытный


  1. In a worldly manner.

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