Meaning of MOSTLY in English

most ‧ ly S2 W3 /ˈməʊstli $ ˈmoʊst-/ BrE AmE adverb

used to talk about most members of a group, most occasions, most parts of something etc SYN mainly :

Green teas are mostly from China or Japan.

There were about fifteen people in the lounge, mostly women.

He blamed his parents. Mostly he blamed his dad.


In written English, people often prefer to use generally or for the most part rather than mostly , because they sound more formal:

Many tourists visit the region, generally for skiing.

The inhabitants of the village are for the most part elderly.

• • •


▪ in general used when saying that something is usually true in most situations, or about most people or things:

In general, temporary jobs are less well-paid.


In general, the bigger a company becomes, the harder it is to maintain customer satisfaction.

▪ generally another way of saying ‘in general’, which is often used before a verb. Generally can also be used to say that most people have a particular opinion:

Women generally live longer than men.


Newton is generally regarded as the father of modern science.

▪ generally speaking/as a rule other ways of saying ‘in general’:

Generally speaking, large breeds of dog are becoming less popular.


He’s a singer who doesn’t do interviews, as a rule.


The graduates are, generally speaking, a confident and articulate group of young people.

▪ mostly/mainly/largely used when saying that something is true about most people or things, or about most of something. Largely is slightly more formal than mostly or mainly :

The disease mainly affects women.


Their attempts were largely unsuccessful.


The students were mostly French and German, but there were a few Japanese students too.

▪ for the most part used when saying that something is true in most cases, but not in every case:

These problems have for the most part been resolved.


For the most part, the gangs were made up of boys aged between 11 and 16.

▪ by and large/on the whole used for saying that something is true in most ways or in most cases:

The project was, by and large, a success.


On the whole, people were very friendly.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.