beau·​ti·​ful | \ ˈbyü-ti-fəl How to pronounce beautiful (audio) \

Essential Meaning of beautiful

1 : very attractive in a physical way a beautiful young woman/child You have the most beautiful smile/eyes.
2 : giving pleasure to the mind or the senses The film tells a beautiful story about two young lovers. a beautiful song See More Examplesa beautiful dress/color/garden/house Our hotel room had a beautiful view of the ocean. The sunsets here are absolutely beautiful.Hide
3 : very good or pleasing : not having any bad qualities We've been having such beautiful [=excellent, fine] weather lately. a beautiful sunny day See More ExamplesWhat a beautiful day for a picnic! They did a beautiful job [=an excellent job] fixing up the house. a beautiful friendship/relationship This is a beautiful example of early American poetry.Hide

Full Definition of beautiful

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

Other Words from beautiful

beautifulness \ ˈbyü-​ti-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce beautiful (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

Examples of beautiful in a Sentence

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 Fish, Wine Spectator, 15 Nov. 2008 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 Chaudhry, Nation, 27 Aug.-3 Sept. 2007 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 MacGregor, New York Times Book Review, 21 Aug. 2005 You have the most beautiful smile. The film tells a beautiful story about two young lovers. Our hotel room had a beautiful view of the ocean. The sunsets here are absolutely beautiful. What a beautiful day for a picnic! This is a beautiful example of early American poetry.
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Recent Examples on the Web Be beautiful on the inside, and that will show on the outside. Washington Post, 6 Jan. 2022 And hours later, the brown and Black custodial staff who work there every day and keep the beautiful building running cleaned it all up. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 6 Jan. 2022 But what’s more beautiful than traveling the world? Greg Emmanuel, Essence, 3 Jan. 2022 At the very least an adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days should be beautiful to look at, but there’s a peculiar claustrophobia to the mixture of generic locations and CG backdrops here. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Dec. 2021 It’s in a beautiful old building that’s been in the same family since the ’70s. New York Times, 31 Dec. 2021 But when conditions are ideal, even Kaktovik can be beautiful. Travel, 29 Dec. 2021 The stadium is new, the weather should be beautiful, and the stadium’s open design might mitigate some COVID fears. Michael Goldstein, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 Even through fossils in Myanmar amber are beautiful, paleontologists are debating the ethics of publishing on specimens that may be tied to a black market fueling the conflict. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Dec. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of beautiful

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for beautiful

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

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Time Traveler for beautiful

Time Traveler

The first known use of beautiful was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near beautiful



beautiful letters

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Statistics for beautiful

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Beautiful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for beautiful


beau·​ti·​ful | \ ˈbyü-ti-fəl How to pronounce beautiful (audio) \

Kids Definition of beautiful

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

Other Words from beautiful

beautifully adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on beautiful

Nglish: Translation of beautiful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beautiful for Arabic Speakers


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