cosmetic

adjective
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

cosmetic

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cosmetic

Adjective

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for cosmetic

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Companies hoping to put the marijuana-adjacent product in dietary supplements and cosmetic products have long complained that the FDA’s rules are not clear enough to justify their investment in the industry. Nicholas Florko, STAT, "Congress asked the FDA to explain its rules on CBD — but its new report offers little clarity," 5 Mar. 2020 In the past two decades, there’s been an increasing focus on self-perfection, with the use of cosmetic procedures like fillers rising and the age people indulge in them falling. Ada Calhoun, Good Housekeeping, "I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This, But It’s Okay to Stop Trying to Look Younger," 4 Feb. 2020 To treat melasma, sun protection, topical medications and cosmetic procedures often are combined to achieve the best results. Mayo Clinic News Network, chicagotribune.com, "Mayo Clinic Q&A: Treating melasma," 22 Nov. 2019 The second patient cited in the state allegations sought cosmetic procedures. Gary Klien, The Mercury News, "Bay Area doctor accused of medical, sexual improprieties," 15 July 2019 Of course, there are some problematic reasons for this, like societal pressures on women to keep looking young while not losing focus on career or family, and to use cosmetic procedures to literally keep up appearances. Holly Ojalvo, Quartz, "Your amazement at J Lo is ageist as hell," 5 Feb. 2020 Glazer expressed concerns that the types of surgeries that would have been prohibited under the bill’s defintion of intersex were too broad, encompassing cosmetic procedures and nonsurgical treatments for minors who are clearly boys or girls. Alexei Koseff, SFChronicle.com, "Major LGBT group revokes endorsement of Bay Area lawmaker over intersex bill," 28 Jan. 2020 The purse contained her ID, a credit card, and some cosmetic items. cleveland, "Pain meds missing from residence: Fairview Park Police Blotter," 24 Jan. 2020 Talc is an ingredient commonly used in cosmetic items such as baby powder and blush. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Retailers are pulling Johnson's baby powder from store shelves," 25 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun All tickets purchased for the L.A. cosmetics event will be honored for the new dates (admission packages ranged from $99.99 to $1,999.999). Lindsay Weinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Beautycon Postponed Until December Amid Coronavirus Pandemic," 12 Mar. 2020 South Africa banned mercurial cosmetics in 1975, the European Economic Union in 1976, and Nigeria in 1982. Lynn M. Thomas, Quartz Africa, "There’s a complex history of skin lighteners in Africa and beyond," 9 Mar. 2020 Most people won't; however, the luxury fashion designer is making its high-profile products a little more accessible by entering the cosmetics sphere. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, "Here's Everything You Need to Know About the First Hermès Beauty Launch," 6 Mar. 2020 The creams didn't work as advertised but that didn't stop Tho-Radia cosmetics from becoming popular. Jacopo Prisco, CNN, "When beauty products were radioactive," 3 Mar. 2020 Error 0: MYX Blend Bar is a custom lipstick and lip gloss retailer that allows customers to add glitter, fragrances and vitamins to their cosmetics. Paul Takahashi, Houston Chronicle, "New-to-Houston retailers coming to Rice Village," 11 Feb. 2020 From running her multi-million dollar beauty empire (which includes an extensive cosmetics line as well as a skincare brand) to raising a vivacious toddler with ex-boyfriend Travis Scott, the businesswoman has a lot on her plate. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Kylie Jenner’s Assistant Spills The Tea On Why She Actually Quit," 16 Jan. 2020 Like a Boss, which stars Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish as childhood friends who start their own cosmetics line, is one such less-than-stellar entry into the canon. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Like a Boss is a female buddy comedy in need of a serious makeover: Review," 9 Jan. 2020 The 23-year-old star, who rose to prominence after starring in Rihanna's advertising campaigns for her cosmetics line Fenty Beauty back in 2017, disclosed her health struggles in an Instagram post Wednesday. Toyin Owoseje, CNN, "Model Slick Woods tells fans not to treat her 'like a victim' after revealing she's having chemotherapy," 21 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of cosmetic

Adjective

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1650, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cosmetic

Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cosmetic

Time Traveler for cosmetic

Time Traveler

The first known use of cosmetic was in 1638

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cosmetic

Last Updated

17 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cosmetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cosmetic. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cosmetic

cosmetic

adjective
How to pronounce cosmetic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cosmetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: used or done in order to improve a person's appearance
: done in order to make something look better
: not important or meaningful

cosmetic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cosmetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance (such as a cream, lotion, or powder) that you put on your face or body to improve your appearance

cosmetic

noun
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

cosmetic

noun
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

cosmetic

adjective

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 cosmetically (audio) \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on cosmetic

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!