pul·​chri·​tude | \ ˈpəl-krə-ˌtüd How to pronounce pulchritude (audio) , -ˌtyüd \

Definition of pulchritude

: physical comeliness

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Other Words from pulchritude

pulchritudinous \ ˌpəl-​krə-​ˈtüd-​nəs How to pronounce pulchritudinous (audio) , -​ˈtyüd-​ ; -​ˈtü-​dᵊn-​əs , -​ˈtyü-​ \ adjective

The Beautiful History of Pulchritude

If English poet John Keats was right when he wrote that "a thing of beauty is a joy forever," then pulchritude should bring bliss for many years to come. That word has already served English handsomely for centuries; it has been used since the 1400s. It's a descendant of the Latin adjective pulcher, which means "beautiful." Pulcher hasn't exactly been a wellspring of English terms, but it did give us both pulchritude and pulchritudinous, an adjective meaning "attractive" or "beautiful." The verb pulchrify (a synonym of beautify), the noun pulchritudeness (same meaning as pulchritude), and the adjective pulchrous (meaning "fair or beautiful") are other pulcher offspring, but those terms have proved that, in at least some linguistic cases, beauty is fleeting.

Examples of pulchritude in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The place of beauty in our lives is a profound subject, and Harmon offers a complex understanding that respects the hazardous yet life-enhancing power of physical pulchritude. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Idina Menzel lights up the sexy-neurotic comedy ‘Skintight’ at the Geffen Playhouse," 13 Sep. 2019 Portraits of two icons of pulchritude hang on the walls—namely, Marilyn Monroe and the very 2019 version of Marilyn: Cardi. Harper's BAZAAR, "Cardi B Opens Up About Her "Rags to Riches" Cinderella Story," 7 Feb. 2019 There were the unabashed helpings of male pulchritude served up by the sportswear designers Parke & Ronen. New York Times, "New York Men’s Fashion Week: The Mixtape," 11 July 2018 Feminine pulchritude mattered to Balanchine; many of his dancers had the looks of the movie stars or models of their day. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "New York City Ballet Is in Limbo, but in Bloom," 31 May 2018 Offering an appropriate example of plus-size pulchritude to heavier men, as well as to the fashion industry, required a candidate who seemed relatable, in Mr. Bart’s words. Michelle Green, New York Times, "NYT Living Newsletter," 4 May 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pulchritude.' 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 pulchritude

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pulchritude

Middle English, from Latin pulchritudin-, pulchritudo, from pulchr-, pulcher beautiful

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

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Cite this Entry

“Pulchritude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pulchritude. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pulchritude

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pulchritude

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pulchritude

Nglish: Translation of pulchritude for Spanish Speakers

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