pul·​chri·​tude ˈpəl-krə-ˌtüd How to pronounce pulchritude (audio)
: physical comeliness
ˌpəl-krə-ˈtüd-nəs How to pronounce pulchritude (audio)

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The Beautiful History of Pulchritude

Pulchritude is a descendant of the Latin adjective pulcher, which means "beautiful." Pulcher hasn't exactly been a wellspring of English terms, but it did give English 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 But the reality remains of one person’s trash being another’s treasure, and while Warhol and Confucius poetically and diplomatically remind us of the beauty to be found in everything, the below are 10 films most impervious to any semblance of pulchritude from this year. Nicholas Bell, SPIN, 5 Dec. 2023 But the new addition, Dan (David Johnson III), turns out to be a fine specimen of beefy pulchritude, not unlike the gay neighbors Jamie eyes through his bedroom window. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 June 2023 The expansive imaginings of survivalist adaptations are matched by the production’s eerie visual allure, not least in the marine pulchritude of the cordyceps’ character design. Inkoo Kang, The New Yorker, 15 Jan. 2023 Why, at this moment celebrating body positivity and diversity, the natural pulchritude of all figures, do women continue to wrap wire around their breasts, hoisting them inches above their innate resting position? Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2022 For Morris Isby III, also known as B-Boy Morris, the pulchritude in such mentorship lies in helping the next generation be as advantageous as possible. Kenneth J. Williams Jr., Forbes, 9 Dec. 2021 Its outlier pulchritude tells us something important about the business of volume-production car building: Beauty costs money. Dan Neil, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2020 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, 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, 7 Feb. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pulchritude.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near pulchritude

Cite this Entry

“Pulchritude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pulchritude. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

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