fairly vs middling what difference

what is difference between fairly and middling

English

Etymology

From Middle English fayrly, fayrely, vayrliche, equivalent to fair +‎ -ly.

Pronunciation

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈfɛə(ɹ).li/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈfɛɹ.li/
  • Rhymes: -ɛə(ɹ)li
  • Hyphenation: fair‧ly

Adverb

fairly (comparative more fairly, superlative most fairly)

  1. (manner) In a fair manner; fair; not biased or skewed or favouring a certain party
    Synonyms: justly, frankly
  2. Favorably; auspiciously; commodiously.
  3. Honestly; properly.
    • 1859, Alexander Easton, A Practical Treatise on Street or Horse-Power Railways, p.108, “Rules adopted by the Sixth Avenue Railway, N. Y.”:
      10. You will be civil and attentive to passengers, giving proper assistance to ladies and children getting in or out, and never start the car before passengers are fairly received or landed.
  4. Softly; quietly; gently.
  5. (degree) Partly, not fully; somewhat.
    Synonyms: somewhat, pretty, quite, somewhat
  6. (dated) Almost; practically.
    • 1834, Arthur Courtenay, Autobiography and Letters of Arthur Courtenay (page 36)
      We quadrilled, waltzed, and conversed, in all of which my clever partner excelled; and her charms, combined with the excellent champagne I imbibed, fairly dazzled my imagination.

Usage notes

  • This is a non-descriptive qualifier, similar to quite and rather and somewhat, and some other adverbs of degree. Used where a plain adjective needs to be modified, but cannot be qualified. When spoken, the meaning can vary with the tone of voice and stress. He was fairly big can mean anything from “not exactly small” to “almost huge”.

Translations



English

Etymology

The noun is probably from middle (noun) +‎ -ing; the adjective is most likely derived from the noun, and the adverb from the adjective.

Pronunciation

  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈmɪdlɪŋ/, /ˈmɪdl̩ɪŋ/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈmɪd(ə)lɪŋ/
  • Hyphenation: mid‧dl‧ing

Adjective

middling (comparative more middling, superlative most middling)

  1. Of intermediate or average size, position, or quality; mediocre.
  2. (colloquial, regional Britain) In fairly good health.

Synonyms

  • (intermediate or average in size, position, or quality): average, medium, unexceptional

Derived terms

  • fair to middling
  • middlings
  • middling sort

Translations

Adverb

middling (comparative more middling, superlative most middling)

  1. (colloquial, regional Britain) Fairly, moderately, somewhat.
    • 1811, Engelbert Kempfer [i.e., Engelbert Kaempfer]; J[ohann] G[aspar] Scheuchzer, transl., “The Division and Sub-division of the Empire of Japan into Its Several Provinces; as also of Its Revenue and Government”, in The History of Japan; republished in John Pinkerton, editor, A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World; Many of which are Now First Translated into English. Digested on a New Plan, volume VII, London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Paternoster-Row; and Cadell and Davies, in the Strand, →OCLC, page 665:
      Iwami, otherwise Sekisju, is two days journey long, going from ſouth to north, a middling good country, producing plenty of cannib, and affording ſome ſalt.
  2. (colloquial, regional Britain) Not too badly, with modest success.

Noun

middling (plural middlings)

  1. Something of intermediate or average size, position, or quality.
    1. (in the plural) Preceded by the: people of moderate means; members of the middle class.

Further reading

  • Michael Quinion (created 26 May 2001, last updated 1 October 2016), “Fair to middling”, in World Wide Words.

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