Recently, one of my tutors pointed out my use of thusly in an essay. I used it thus: (except I would have added -ly there). Frankly, I was surprised to see it. Thusly was not a conscious choice during composition. Nevertheless, I mounted an ad hoc defense. The -ly does lead the listener nicely into the list which often follows, right? At the same time, as a proponent of the flat adverb mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I felt guilty about my neglect of thus. A quick google search provided more fodder for my usage conflict.
On Wiktionary.org the etymology of thusly is described thus: dating from the 19th century, seemingly coined by educated writers to make fun of uneducated persons trying to sound genteel. The OED lists thusly as colloquial, with its first recorded usage occurring in a December 1865 issue of Harper’s Magazine. The tone there clearly seems to be mocking. But the usage from 1893 already appears more neutral.
This post on thusly provides an interesting overview.
I’m not sure when or how I acquired thusly in my personal lexicon. For me, The Urban Dictionary‘s first lemma for thusly called to mind an image of my brother using thusly while performing a goofy demonstration – so maybe that’s an explanation. Meanwhile, you may have noticed my decision to use thus in this blog post. I’m still developing my personal usage guidelines regarding thusly. For the moment, I’ve decided to heed the advice of my tutor and the squiggly red line.
I look forward to having the project’s database available to consult many usage guides in one fell swoop. I’d also be very interested to hear readers’ opinions. Is thusly a superfluous synonym? Or does it have its own thing going? and if so, in which contexts?