The first meaning of “comely” applies to objects, and is archaic – but in reference to persons, “comely” is in current use.  However, the meaning has moved a bit over the centuries.  In the 1400s, “comely” was applied to kings and Christ and God and to ladies belied with false compare.  Samples from the 1700s use “comely” as a homelier word – pleasing but not remarkable.  Symmetrical with good teeth.  Thranduil is clearly using the earlier meaning of “comely” when he compliments Bilbo worthiness to wear the mithril mail shirt compared to visible attractiveness.

  • 16.040 than many that have looked more comely

“comely, adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 20 May 2015.

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