from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Comfortably stout; corpulent. See Synonyms at fat.
  • adj. Archaic Stately; majestic; imposing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having a dignified port or mien; of a noble appearance; imposing.
  • adj. Bulky; corpulent.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Stately or dignified in mien; of noble appearance and carriage.
  • Stout; somewhat large and unwieldy in person.
  • Swelling.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. euphemisms for `fat'


From port5.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From port +‎ -ly. (Wiktionary)



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  • This etymology isn't much use given we don't know which definition port5 refers to.

    February 24, 2013

  • (adj): handsome, imposing. Original sense as recorded in the OED.

    January 16, 2009

  • But he was stopped on the way by a portly sperm whale, that begged a few moments' confidential business with him. That business consisted in fetching the Commodore's craft such a thwack, that with all his pumps going he made straight for the nearest port to heave down and repair.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 45

    July 25, 2008