Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


adj. ho·li·er, ho·li·est
1. Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.
2. Regarded with veneration or specified for a religious purpose: a holy book; a holy place.
3. Living or undertaken with highly moral or spiritual purpose; saintly: a holy person; a holy way of life.
4. Regarded as deserving special respect or reverence: The pursuit of peace is our holiest quest.
5. Informal Used as an intensive: raised holy hell over the mischief their children did.

[Middle English holi, from Old English hālig; see kailo- in Indo-European roots.]

ho′li·ly adv.
ho′li·ness n.


in a holy, devout, or sacred manner
References in classic literature ?
Quick, one last kiss, Genevieve," he whispered, almost holily.
It is to be done as an artist paints a picture, or writes a poem, with love, holily, a true sacrament of beauty.
I was holily grateful to be through with the ordeal, and was about to make my good-bys and get out, when the girl said: