Definition of Beautiful by Merriam-Webster

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beau·​ti·​ful | ˈbyü-ti-fəl 1 : having qualities of beauty : exciting aesthetic pleasure

Other Words from beautiful

beautifulness ˈbyü-​ti-​fəl-​nəs noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for beautiful


  • aesthetic
  • (also esthetic or aesthetical or esthetical),
  • attractive,
  • beauteous,
  • bonny
  • (also bonnie)
  • [chiefly British],
  • comely,
  • cute,
  • drop-dead,
  • fair,
  • fetching,
  • good,
  • good-looking,
  • goodly,
  • gorgeous,
  • handsome,
  • knockout,
  • likely,
  • lovely,
  • lovesome,
  • pretty,
  • ravishing,
  • seemly,
  • sightly,
  • stunning,
  • taking,
  • well-favored


  • grotesque,
  • hideous,
  • homely,
  • ill-favored,
  • plain,
  • ugly,
  • unaesthetic,
  • unattractive,
  • unbeautiful,
  • uncomely,
  • uncute,
  • unhandsome,
  • unlovely,
  • unpleasing,
  • unpretty,
  • unsightly

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Choose the Right Synonym for beautiful

beautiful, lovely, handsome, pretty, comely, fair mean exciting sensuous or aesthetic pleasure. beautiful applies to whatever excites the keenest of pleasure to the senses and stirs emotion through the senses.
beautiful mountain scenery lovely is close to beautiful but applies to a narrower range of emotional excitation in suggesting the graceful, delicate, or exquisite.

a lovely melody handsome suggests aesthetic pleasure due to proportion, symmetry, or elegance.

a handsome Georgian mansion pretty often applies to superficial or insubstantial attractiveness.

a painter of conventionally pretty scenes comely is like handsome in suggesting what is coolly approved rather than emotionally responded to.

the comely grace of a dancer fair suggests beauty because of purity, flawlessness, or freshness.
fair of face

beautiful, pretty, and handsome mean pleasing or delightful in some way. beautiful is used of whatever is most pleasing to the senses or the mind.

We saw a beautiful sunset.

It was a beautiful story about faith. pretty is usually used of something that is small or dainty.

She held a pretty little doll. handsome is used of something that is well formed and therefore pleasing to look at.

The mayor sat at a handsome desk.

Can beautiful be used to describe a man?

Our evidence shows that when beautiful is used to describe physical beauty, it is overwhelming used of women or a physical aspect of a woman (such as her hair or skin). This hasn’t always been the case: when beautiful first came into English it was used as easily of men as it was of women. Nowadays, handsome is the adjective of appreciation most commonly used of men.

The plural noun phrase beautiful people doesn’t refer to the overall looks of the people mentioned, but rather the elegance and sumptuousness of their lives.

Examples of beautiful in a Sentence

Located on one of the most beautiful and untouched coastlines in America, this recreational area has much to offer. You can hike on rocky headlands that rise dramatically from the Pacific Ocean, ride horses or bikes along scenic trails, walk along the many beaches, kayak on pristine Tomales Bay, or spy the abundance of native flowers and wildlife, including elephant seals and tule elk. — Tim Fish, Wine Spectator, 15 Nov. 2008 In her biography of Monroe, Churchwell takes to task the relentless mythomania of her admirers and critics, who are equally invested in nurturing the legend of a hapless beautiful woman consumed by her desire for celebrity and love. — Lakshmi Chaudhry, Nation, 27 Aug.-3 Sept. 2007 In the hothouse of today’s celebrity monoculture, the result has been the perfection of the kind of profile in which athletes and actors struggle to overcome … absence or presence in their lives of money, fame, sex and drugs. Especially so in the upscale slicks, where these stories of the rich and beautiful emerge so flat and lifeless that no one in them casts a shadow. — Jeff MacGregor, New York Times Book Review, 21 Aug. 2005

You have the most beautiful smile.

The film tells a beautiful story about two young lovers.

Our hotel room had a beautiful view of the ocean.

The sunsets here are absolutely beautiful.

What a beautiful day for a picnic!

This is a beautiful example of early American poetry.

See More Recent Examples on the Web The California bay laurel, native to southwestern Oregon, grows to become a very large and beautiful tree (to 80 feet).

oregonlive, “Ask an expert: Celebrate beneficial fungus in your yard,” 22 Nov. 2019 Shelters for mankind—from the almost impossibly grand to the utilitarian bare and spare and functional, and all the more beautiful for such simplicity and environmental purity.

Paul Hendrickson, Smithsonian, “The Prickly, Brilliant and Deeply Influential Frank Lloyd Wright,” 20 Nov. 2019
And her sister Jackie Pinkus bakes up a storm to rival the best Parisienne patisseries — imaginative, beautiful and delectable cakes and desserts that leave pumpkin pie in the dust.

May Klisch, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Mingle tradition with new twists, diverse guests, for a richer Thanksgiving experience,” 19 Nov. 2019
Can’t resist beautiful changing leaves for nail design and photo op! . . . .

Emy Rodriguez Flores, Redbook, “The Best Nail Art for Thanksgiving,” 18 Nov. 2019
This beautiful but lightly used facility would more aptly be called Tony’s Folly.

Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, “Kiszla: Rams coach Mike Bobo can’t win a rivalry game, but what will get him fired are empty seats in CSU’s $220 million stadium,” 16 Nov. 2019
Yet, as beautiful as the movie is, its oversights feel like a nice paint job with little under the hood.

Wired, “Ford v Ferrari Overlooks the Best Part of the Racing Rivalry,” 15 Nov. 2019 Because as beautiful as the Villas at Titusville is, it is meant to serve as a way station, not a permanent destination.

Anna Beahm |, al, “Look inside the new Villas at Titusville housing development,” 15 Nov. 2019
All of the chairs in my apartment are beautiful but really uncomfortable.

George Mccalman,, “‘Soul of a Nation” at the de Young; Hem pop-up in Hayes Valley; Saeed Jones in conversation,” 15 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘beautiful.’ 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 beautiful

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for beautiful

Middle English bewteful, beautefull, from beaute beauty + -ful, -full -ful entry 1

Learn More about beautiful

Cite this Entry

“Beautiful.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 30 November 2019.

More Definitions for beautiful

beau·​ti·​ful | ˈbyü-ti-fəl

Kids Definition of beautiful

1 : having qualities of beauty : giving pleasure to the mind or senses

a beautiful child a beautiful song

Other Words from beautiful

beautifully adverb

Comments on beautiful

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