(comparative burlier, superlative burliest)
- (usually of a man) Large, well-built, and muscular.
- He's a big, burly rugby player who works as a landscape gardener.
- (slang) Originating from the east end of London, England. An expressive term to mean something is good, awesome, amazing, unbelievable. e.g That goal was burly, or Räikkönen is a burly Formula 1 driver.
- (slang) Originating from surfer culture and/or Southern California. An expressive term to mean something is of large magnitude, either good or bad, and sometimes both. e.g. "That wave was burly!" (meaning it was large, dangerous and difficult to ride). "This hike is going to be burly, but worth it because there is good body surfing at that beach." (meaning the hike is going to be hard work).
From Middle English burly, burely, borly, burlich, borlich, borlic (“tall, stately”), of uncertain origin. Cognate with Scots burely, burly (“rough, stout, sturdy, strong”). Perhaps from Old English *būrlīċ (“noble, stately”, literally “bowerly”), equivalent to bower + -ly; or from Old English *byrlīċ (“high, raised”), from byre (“raised area, mound”), cognate with Old High German burlīh, purlīh (“lofty, elevated, high, exalted”), related to Old High German burjan (“to raise, lift, push up”). See burgeon.