adjective beau·ti·ful \ ˈbyü-ti-fəl \
|Updated on: 21 Aug 2018

Definition of beautiful

1 : having qualities of beauty : exciting aesthetic pleasure
2 : generally pleasing : excellent


play \ˈbyü-ti-f(ə-)lē\ adverb


play \ˈbyü-ti-fəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of beautiful in a Sentence

  1. Located on one of the most beautiful and untouched coastlines in America, this recreational area has much to offer. You can hike on rocky headlands that rise dramatically from the Pacific Ocean, ride horses or bikes along scenic trails, walk along the many beaches, kayak on pristine Tomales Bay, or spy the abundance of native flowers and wildlife, including elephant seals and tule elk. —Tim FishWine Spectator15 Nov. 2008
  2. In her biography of Monroe, Churchwell takes to task the relentless mythomania of her admirers and critics, who are equally invested in nurturing the legend of a hapless beautiful woman consumed by her desire for celebrity and love. —Lakshmi ChaudhryNation27 Aug.-3 Sept. 2007
  3. In the hothouse of today's celebrity monoculture, the result has been the perfection of the kind of profile in which athletes and actors struggle to overcome … absence or presence in their lives of money, fame, sex and drugs. Especially so in the upscale slicks, where these stories of the rich and beautiful emerge so flat and lifeless that no one in them casts a shadow. —Jeff MacGregorNew York Times Book Review21 Aug. 2005
  4. You have the most beautiful smile.

  5. The film tells a beautiful story about two young lovers.

  6. Our hotel room had a beautiful view of the ocean.

  7. The sunsets here are absolutely beautiful.

  8. What a beautiful day for a picnic!

  9. This is a beautiful example of early American poetry.

Recent Examples of beautiful from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beautiful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Can beautiful be used to describe a man?

Our evidence shows that when beautiful is used to describe physical beauty, it is overwhelming used of women or a physical aspect of a woman (such as her hair or skin). This hasn't always been the case: when beautiful first came into English it was used as easily of men as it was of women. Nowadays, handsome is the adjective of appreciation most commonly used of men.

The plural noun phrase beautiful people doesn't refer to the overall looks of the people mentioned, but rather the elegance and sumptuousness of their lives.

Origin and Etymology of beautiful

Middle English bewteful, beautefull, from beaute beauty + -ful, -full 1-ful

Synonym Discussion of beautiful

beautiful, lovely, handsome, pretty, comely, fair mean exciting sensuous or aesthetic pleasure. beautiful applies to whatever excites the keenest of pleasure to the senses and stirs emotion through the senses.
    • beautiful mountain scenery
lovely is close to beautiful but applies to a narrower range of emotional excitation in suggesting the graceful, delicate, or exquisite.
    • a lovely melody
handsome suggests aesthetic pleasure due to proportion, symmetry, or elegance.
    • a handsome Georgian mansion
pretty often applies to superficial or insubstantial attractiveness.
    • a painter of conventionally pretty scenes
comely is like handsome in suggesting what is coolly approved rather than emotionally responded to.
    • the comely grace of a dancer
fair suggests beauty because of purity, flawlessness, or freshness.
    • fair of face

BEAUTIFUL Defined for Kids


adjective beau·ti·ful \ ˈbyü-ti-fəl \

Definition of beautiful for Students

1 : having qualities of beauty : giving pleasure to the mind or senses
  • a beautiful child
  • a beautiful song
2 : very good : excellent
  • beautiful weather



Synonym Discussion of beautiful

beautiful, pretty, and handsome mean pleasing or delightful in some way. beautiful is used of whatever is most pleasing to the senses or the mind.
    • We saw a beautiful sunset.
    • It was a beautiful story about faith.
pretty is usually used of something that is small or dainty.
    • She held a pretty little doll.
handsome is used of something that is well formed and therefore pleasing to look at.
    • The mayor sat at a handsome desk.

Seen and Heard

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