beau·​ti·​ful | \ˈbyü-ti-fəl \

Definition of beautiful 

1 : having qualities of beauty : exciting aesthetic pleasure

2 : generally pleasing : excellent

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Other Words from beautiful

beautifully \ ˈbyü-​ti-​f(ə-​)lē \ adverb
beautifulness \ ˈbyü-​ti-​fəl-​nəs \ 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

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.

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

And the scents aren't the only thing of note, either—the containers, designed by Marc Newson are, of course, beautiful too. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Louis Vuitton Is Launching A Line Of Scented Candles, And Of Course They're Impossibly Chic," 25 Oct. 2018 The effect is beautiful, while also allowing wind to pass through the home, creating a natural cooling system for warm days. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Indoor-outdoor modern house is immersed in greenery," 21 Aug. 2018 Jacqueline Bisset is at her most beautiful as a leading lady coming back from a breakdown. Hal Boedeker,, "Enzian screens peerless 'Day for Night'," 13 July 2018 Every year, the IndyStar Wine & Food Experience gathers 30 of the best Indianapolis restaurants and chefs, puts them in one big, beautiful place and throws an all-you-can eat and drink party. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "This deal gets you all-you-can-eat tastings from the best Indianapolis restaurants," 12 July 2018 Dwight Clark’s ashes are now resting in a beautiful place in Montana. Jonathan Jones,, "Flag Football, CFL and Making the Most of Football’s Dog Days," 10 July 2018 The 121-room hotel is an oh-so-Santa-Barbara kind of place, with beautiful facades and decor, cushy rooms, sweeping views and fine restaurants under the direction of Alexander la Motte, formerly of Napa Valley's French Laundry. Rosemary Mcclure,, "A weekend escape to Santa Barbara is still a wonder despite the fires and floods," 21 June 2018 The artworks featured in the project are defiant, joyful, beautiful. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Unprecedented Billboard Campaign Puts Spotlight on Indigenous Artists in Canada," 13 July 2018 In one outstanding portion, Coco jumps on Puro, her meowing tiger pet, and runs across China's Great Wall to avoid all manner of enemies, including beautiful but mischievous dragon kites. Harold Goldberg,, "Classic games, lovingly reimagined in 'Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy'," 13 July 2018

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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Statistics for beautiful

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for beautiful

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

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More Definitions for beautiful


beau·​ti·​ful | \ˈbyü-ti-fəl \

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

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Comments on beautiful

What made you want to look up beautiful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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