cos·​met·​ic | \ käz-ˈme-tik How to pronounce cosmetic (audio) \

Definition of cosmetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or making for beauty especially of the complexion : beautifying cosmetic salves
2 : done or made for the sake of appearance: such as
a : correcting defects especially of the face cosmetic surgery
c : not substantive : superficial cosmetic changes
3 : visually appealing



Definition of cosmetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is cosmetic: such as
a : a cosmetic preparation for external use
b cosmetics plural : superficial features a poem without rhetorical cosmetics— Guy Davenport

Other Words from cosmetic


cosmetically \ käz-​ˈme-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce cosmetic (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for cosmetic

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of cosmetic in a Sentence

Adjective Almond oil is sometimes used in cosmetic products. medical procedures that are done for cosmetic purposes The changes were purely cosmetic. Noun Use a cosmetic to hide the scar.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Marsha is on the lam from the airport police, her daughter’s sect of trampoline-bouncing enthusiasts and her own mother, who performs cosmetic surgery on pets. Mary Carole Mccauley, Baltimore Sun, 16 May 2022 So although the eighth-generation Phantom sedan has been given a subtle set of revisions after five years on sale, there is no mention of anything rendolent of cosmetic surgery in the official announcement. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 12 May 2022 This is particularly problematic because B.B.L.s have among the highest mortality rate of any cosmetic surgery. New York Times, 11 May 2022 Meanwhile, Del Vecchio proposed new guidelines for safety in the U.S. for Brazilian butt lifts at a symposium on cosmetic surgery in February, including the number of procedures surgeons can perform per day. Claretta Bellamy, NBC News, 7 May 2022 Fonda, Tomlin, Sheen and Waterston all look damn good for their ages (some helped out more extensively by cosmetic surgery than others) and appear to be in excellent health. Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 There are certainly a lot of Anittas to navigate, as demonstrated by the album cover: six hauntingly lifelike busts that reflect the singer’s moods, roles, personas, and enthusiasm for cosmetic surgery. Charles Aaron, Rolling Stone, 15 Apr. 2022 The procedure, which was made famous by Kim Kardashian, has the highest death rate of any cosmetic surgery. Symeon Brown,, 14 Mar. 2022 The formulas don’t contain any of the more than 1,300 cosmetic ingredients banned by the European Union (like sulfates, parabens, dyes or synthetic fragrances), and according to Holden, Odele plans to stay compliant for years to come. Kiana Murden, CNN Underscored, 26 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This Italian brand follows its name ‘My.Organics’ to a T. With the observation that many cosmetic and hair products have chemicals that may actually be more harmful than good, the team at My. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 May 2022 Its protagonist: a cosmetic dermatologist to the stars, known for his Botox and buttock-enhancement procedures, who tried his luck as a megamansion developer. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, 6 Apr. 2022 Ahead, dermatologists and cosmetic chemists share their tips for the correct skin-care routine order, plus how to effectively incorporate the bells and whistles like face oil and retinol. Elizabeth Siegel, Allure, 25 Feb. 2022 Ourself is positioning itself as an alternative to in-office cosmetic procedures, thanks to Otsuki’s patented subtopical technology—which is to say, the products here can target specific layers of the skin. Adam Hurly, Robb Report, 24 Feb. 2022 Elate hopes to be the first zero-waste cosmetic company. Jailynn Taylor, Essence, 27 Apr. 2022 The 69-year-old TV personality underwent the five-and-a-half-hour cosmetic procedure back in October. Toyin Owoseje, CNN, 25 Apr. 2022 Visit the photogenic, black-and-white shop wearing all the house’s cosmetic signatures. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 6 Apr. 2022 The fundraising effort included all real-money Fortnite purchases made over the two-week period, including V-Buck packs, Fortnite Crew, gifted Battle Passes, and cosmetic packs such as the Voidlander Pack sold for real money. Todd Spangler, Variety, 4 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of cosmetic


1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cosmetic


Greek kosmētikos skilled in adornment, from kosmein to arrange, adorn, from kosmos order

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Time Traveler for cosmetic

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The first known use of cosmetic was in 1638

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Statistics for cosmetic

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cosmetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cosmetic


cos·​met·​ic | \ käz-ˈmet-ik How to pronounce cosmetic (audio) \

Kids Definition of cosmetic

: a material (as a cream, lotion, or powder) used to improve a person's appearance


cos·​met·​ic | \ käz-ˈmet-ik How to pronounce cosmetic (audio) \

Medical Definition of cosmetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a cosmetic preparation for external use



Medical Definition of cosmetic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or making for beauty especially of the complexion cosmetic salves
2 : correcting defects especially of the face cosmetic surgery

Other Words from cosmetic

cosmetically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce cosmetic (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on cosmetic

Nglish: Translation of cosmetic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cosmetic for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cosmetic


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