An example of a burly person is a muscular lumberjack.
He's a big, burly rugby player who works as a landscape gardener.
Other Word Forms
Origin of burly
- Middle English burlich from Old English borlic excellent bher-1 in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- 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.