used to qualify an adjective as in distinctly interesting, belongs to the outer realms of Fowler's lost causes. It was a 1920s vogue word that he much despised, less on linguistic grounds than because of the condescending attitude it revealed in the user, especially when used in combination with an otherwise complimentary word such as fine or majestic. Fowler had a point, and he would probably find confirmation of his opinion in more recent use, which often coyly distances the user from what is being said:

• That night the singing was distinctly husky and out of tune —J. B. Morton, 1974

• Religious references…to the Virgin Mary behaving in a way that is distinctly vampirish have been glossed over —N. Tucker, 1981

Young has distinctly craggy featuresHerald (Glasgow), 2007.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Distinctly — Dis*tinct ly, adv. 1. With distinctness; not confusedly; without the blending of one part or thing another; clearly; plainly; as, to see distinctly. [1913 Webster] 2. With meaning; significantly. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Thou dost snore distinctly;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • distinctly — index fairly (clearly), particularly Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • distinctly — late 14c., from DISTINCT (Cf. distinct) + LY (Cf. ly) (2). [D]istinctly, in the sense really quite, is the badge of the superior person indulgently recognizing unexpected merit in something that we are to understand is not quite worthy of his… …   Etymology dictionary

  • distinctly — dis|tinct|ly [ dı stıŋktli ] adverb 1. ) in a way that is clear to your senses: distinctly hear/see/smell etc.: He distinctly heard her sigh. a ) in a definite and clear way: distinctly remember someone/something: I distinctly remember his… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • distinctly — UK [dɪˈstɪŋk(t)lɪ] / US adverb 1) in a way that is clear to your senses distinctly hear/see/smell etc: He distinctly heard something move across the room. a) in a definite and clear way distinctly remember someone/something: I distinctly remember …   English dictionary

  • distinctly — dis|tinct|ly [dıˈstıŋktli] adv 1.) clearly ▪ Speak clearly and distinctly. ▪ He distinctly remembered the day his father left. 2.) very ▪ Paul was left feeling distinctly foolish. distinctly uncomfortable/uneasy/unhappy etc 3.) used to say that… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • distinctly — adverb 1 clearly: I distinctly heard him say my name. 2 used when saying that someone or something has a particular quality, character etc that is easy to recognize: The rest of the passengers had distinctly Indian names. 3 used when emphasizing… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • distinctly — adverb 1. clear to the mind; with distinct mental discernment (Freq. 7) it s distinctly possible I could clearly see myself in his situation • Syn: ↑clearly • Derived from adjective: ↑distinct 2. in a distinct and …   Useful english dictionary

  • distinctly — adv. Distinctly is used with these adjectives: ↑chilly, ↑cool, ↑cosmopolitan, ↑different, ↑eerie, ↑feminine, ↑foreign, ↑frosty, ↑lacking, ↑limited, ↑lukewarm, ↑ …   Collocations dictionary

  • distinctly — adverb 1) there s something distinctly odd about him Syn: decidedly, markedly, definitely; clearly, noticeably, obviously, plainly, evidently, unmistakably, manifestly, patently 2) Laura spoke quite distinctly Syn …   Thesaurus of popular words

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