9 Other Words for Beautiful


Definition - very beautiful or attractive

Most people don't think of gorgeous as having much in common with the gorge in "that makes my gorge rise" (an idiom that means “to cause someone to feel like vomiting”), but the two may in fact be connected. It is thought that gorgeous comes from the French gorgias (“elegant”), which itself may be from that language’s gorge, a root shared with the English gorge.

Pixie Dust was as gorgeous in the police station's fluorescent light as she was in the hallway at Mrs. Strojic’s.
— James Reed, Raritan (New Brunswick, NJ), Fall 2021


Definition - beauty or a beautiful thing

It is always good to be reminded that a word relating to beauty need not itself be beautiful, and many would agree that formosity is not a particularly attractive series of letters. This word shares a root with form, the Latin forma (meaning “form, beauty”).  

To the most gracious Queen of my Soul.
To the most illustrious Princess of my Heart.
To the Countess Dowager of my Affections.
To the Lady of my Conceptions.
To the Baroness of My Words and Actions.
To the Spring-Garden of all pleasure and delight.
To the Peerles Paragon of Exquisite Formosity.
— Edward Phillips, The beau’s academy, 1699


Definition - charming, winsome, beautiful, lovely

Lovesome comes from Old English, using that language’s word for love (lufu) and its adjective suffix for -some (-sum). Make sure that you do not confuse lovesome with the distinct two-word pairing of love and some (as in ‘I’d really love some pancakes right now’).

The ballad, A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing, features a restrained and delicate duet by Parker and Dixon (on clarinet).
— Dave Gelly, The Observer (London, Eng.), 27 Feb. 2022


Definition - beautiful, graceful, elegant

Venust is an archaic synonym of beautiful, and may not be readily understood by your audience; but given that it begins with the name of the Roman goddess of love (Venus), you should be able to use it anyway, and have your meaning made clear through context.

“Wait, my good fellow. For such joy I take
With her venust and noblest to my make
To hold embracèd and will not her forsake
For yammer of the cuckold,
Though day break.”
— Ezra Pound, Personae, 1949


Definition - attractive, well-proportioned, and good-looking usually in a way suggesting poise, dignity, and strength

Handsome is today used more often of men (and occasionally objects) than it is of women, although this has not always be the case; throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries it was applied in near-equal measure to both sexes. The word suggests a pleasing appearance, due proportions, and a measure of dignity and taste.

And there was Bessy Witter as would ha' given her eyes for him; she as is Mrs Carson now, for she were a handsome lass, although I never could see her beauty then; and Carson warn't so much above her, as they're both above us all now.
— Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton 1848


Definition - presenting a pleasing appearance : pleasing in form or look

This word should come with a warning label, for although the above definition of specious is roughly synonymous with beautiful, it is an obsolete sense, little used since the 18th century. The sense of specious that is most common today is “falsely appearing to be fair, just, or right : appearing to be true but actually false.” The reason that specious had its ‘visually pleasing’ sense prior to its ‘deceptive’ one is that the word came to English from the Latin speciosus, which could mean both “beautiful” or “plausible.”

He has a specious person, and the means
To gain the coldest heart. Apollo's grace,
The lip of Hermes, and the port of Mars.
— Henry Boyd, Poems, Chiefly Dramatic and Lyric_, 1793


Definition - Beautiful

Beauteous is the synonym of beautiful that is closest in meaning and form, so is an excellent choice if you want a word that is ‘beautiful, but just a little bit different.’ Although it is neither archaic nor obsolete, beauteous is chiefly used in literary contexts, and so will not typically be found in conversation.

Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
For thou hast given me in this beauteous face
A world of earthly blessings to my soul,
If sympathy of love unite our thoughts.
— William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II, 1623


Definition -  something notable of its kind: such as an outstandingly attractive or able person

While it’s true that whizzer can also carry the meaning of “one that whizzes,” and may not be the first word you choose when looking to refer to someone or something as beautiful, it has a pleasing meaning nonetheless (and there is no rule stating that all synonyms of beautiful have to be serious words).

But is she’s a whizzer … the story’s all different. They cluster like bees.
—Elizabeth Woodward, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (23 Mar. 1946


Definition - having or marked by physical comeliness

Pulchritudinous, much like formosity, is a word that does not sound very much like its meaning. Pulchritudinous (and pulchritude) come from the Latin pulcher (which means “beautiful”), the same source for a number of uncommon words in English, such as pulchrify (“to beautify”), pulchritudeness (a synonym of pulchritude), and pulchrous ("fair or beautiful”).

Yes, at 6am one morning my pulchritudinous, preening peacock tenderly kissed me on the forehead, asked me to "post the keys back through the door" when I left and took flight, carefully omitting to leave a forwarding address. I'm not sure if he was in search of someone plainer or more beautiful than me, but either way, I hope his feathers fell out.
The Telegraph (London, Eng.), 24 May 2013