beautiful

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English

Etymology

(1520) From beauty + -ful (full of). Displaced earlier sheen (from Middle English schene (beautiful), from Old English scīene (beautiful)), Middle English wliti (beautiful), from Old English wlitiġ (beautiful).

Pronunciation

  • enPR: byo͞oʹtĭ-fəl, IPA(key): [ˈbjuːtɪfəɫ]
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: beau‧ti‧ful

Adjective

beautiful (comparative more beautiful, superlative most beautiful)

  1. Attractive and possessing charm.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 5, The China Governess[1]:
      ‘It's rather like a beautiful Inverness cloak one has inherited. Much too good to hide away, so one wears it instead of an overcoat and pretends it's an amusing new fashion.’
    Anyone who has ever met her thought she was absolutely beautiful.
    There's a beautiful lake by the town.
  2. (of the weather) Pleasant; clear.
    It's beautiful outside, let's go for a walk.
  3. Well executed.
    The skater performed a beautiful axel.
  4. (as a pro-sentence) How beautiful that is!
    Beautiful! What a catch! (referring to an athlete catching a ball)
  5. (as a pro-sentence; ironic) How unfortunate that is!
    Beautiful! I dropped the soup on the floor!

Usage notes

The comparatives beautifuler and beautifuller, and the superlatives beautifulest and beautifullest have also occasionally been used, but are considered dated or obsolete.

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