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

Definition of pulchritude

: physical comeliness

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pulchritude

pulchritudinous \ ˌpəl-​krə-​ˈtüd-​nəs How to pronounce pulchritude (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 Its outlier pulchritude tells us something important about the business of volume-production car building: Beauty costs money. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Polestar 1: The World’s Most Beautiful Hybrid Car Has Arrived," 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, "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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pulchritude

Time Traveler for pulchritude

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about pulchritude

Statistics for pulchritude

Cite this Entry

“Pulchritude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pulchritude. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on pulchritude

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pulchritude

Nglish: Translation of pulchritude for Spanish Speakers

Comments on pulchritude

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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