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From Middle English bewteful, beautefull (attractive to the eye, beautiful), equivalent to beauty +‎ -ful. In this sense, largely displaced Old English fæġer (whence fair).


  • (UK) enPR: byo͞oʹtĭ-fəl, IPA(key): /ˈbjuːtɪ.fəl/, /ˈbjuːtɪ.fʊl/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈbju.tɪ.fəl/, [bju.ɾə.fəl]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: beau‧ti‧ful


beautiful (comparative more beautiful, superlative most beautiful)

  1. Attractive and possessing beauty.
    Anyone who has ever met her thought she was absolutely beautiful.
    There's a beautiful lake by the town.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 5, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      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.
    • 2016, VOA Learning English (public domain)[1]:
      It is a beautiful kitchen! — It is beautiful.
  2. Good, admirable.
    He was a beautiful person; he would drop everything to help you.
    You've done a beautiful thing today.
  3. (of the weather) Pleasant; clear.
    It's beautiful outside, let's go for a walk.
  4. Well executed.
    The skater performed a beautiful axel.

Usage notes

  • When used to refer to human appearance, the word is more commonly used for women, with handsome being more common for men, though neither is incorrect. For a man, beautiful could connote a more delicate or androgynous appearance.
  • The comparatives beautifuler and beautifuller, and the superlatives beautifulest and beautifullest have also occasionally been used, but are nonstandard.



Derived terms

Related terms



beautiful (plural beautifuls)

  1. Someone who is beautiful. Can be used as a term of address.
    The man was faithful to his wife, ignoring the many blonde beautifuls who surrounded him wherever he went.
    Hey, beautiful!