Beautiful vs. Handsome: What's the Difference?
Beautiful generally describes a pleasing aesthetic that can apply to people, objects, and scenes, often with a focus on delicacy and elegance. Handsome often describes a strong, refined appearance, and is more commonly applied to men.
Beautiful is an adjective that describes something as aesthetically pleasing, eliciting a sense of admiration. It is often used to describe people, places, art, or moments. Handsome is also an adjective but is typically used to describe men or masculine features, and implies a sort of rugged, classic beauty.
Beautiful is a term often linked with softness, delicacy, and a sense of finesse. When someone describes a woman as beautiful, the focus may not only be on her physical features but also on a sense of grace or kindness that she exudes. Handsome, when used to describe a man, often connotes strength, confidence, and a polished appearance, but less often focuses on grace or delicacy.
Beautiful can also apply to landscapes, moments, or non-tangible things like ideas or experiences. For instance, a sunset or an act of kindness can be described as beautiful. Handsome is less versatile in this respect; it's rare to describe a sunset or an idea as handsome.
The usage of Beautiful and Handsome can also be culturally and historically influenced. While Beautiful has a broader range of application across genders and objects, Handsome is more limited, generally applying to men and occasionally to women when speaking of a particular type of strong, non-delicate beauty.
People, scenes, art
Moderate to low
More culturally specific
Beautiful and Handsome Definitions
Aesthetically pleasing to the senses
The painting is absolutely beautiful.
Graceful and dignified
She looked handsome in her tailored suit.
Having qualities that delight the eye
Her dress was beautiful.
Large in scale or amount
He made a handsome profit.
Inspiring wonder or awe
The mountain view was beautiful.
Exhibiting skill or excellence
It was a handsome piece of craftsmanship.
Having qualities that delight or appeal to the senses and often the mind.
Pleasing in form or appearance, especially having strong or distinguished features
A handsome man.
A woman with a handsome face.
Hit a beautiful shot from the tee.
Having stately or attractive proportions or appearance; impressive
A handsome manor.
A sleek, handsome car.
Used to express approval or delight.
Large in amount or measure; generous or considerable
A handsome reward.
Won by a handsome margin.
Attractive and possessing beauty.
Anyone who has ever met her thought she was absolutely beautiful.
There's a beautiful lake by the town.
Marked by or requiring skill or dexterity
Did some handsome maneuvers on the skating rink.
He was a beautiful person; he would drop everything to help you.
You've done a beautiful thing today.
Appropriate or fitting
A handsome location for the new school.
(of the weather) Pleasant; clear.
It's beautiful outside, let's go for a walk.
Having a pleasing appearance, good-looking, attractive, particularly
That is one handsome tree you've got there.
The skater performed a beautiful axel.
Attractively manly, having a pleasing face and overall effect.
I was tripping over his own feet coming in out of the surf.
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.
Statuesque, beautiful in a masculine or otherwise imposing way.
She was either handsome or her uniform created a flattering effect but—being very nearsighted—he couldn't tell from this distance.
Having the qualities which constitute beauty; pleasing to the sight or the mind.
A circle is more beautiful than a square; a square is more beautiful than a parallelogram.
Good, appealing, appropriate.
Delighting the senses or exciting intellectual or emotional admiration;
A beautiful child
A beautiful painting
A beautiful theory
A beautiful party
(of weather) Fine, clear and bright.
Suitable or fit in action; marked with propriety and ease; appropriate.
A handsome style
(of weather) highly enjoyable;
What a beautiful day
Generous or noble in character.
Handsome is as handsome does.
Eliciting admiration or approval
That was a beautiful gesture.
Ample; moderately large.
A handsome salary
Harmonious in arrangement or form
The music was beautiful.
To render handsome.
Dexterous; skillful; handy; ready; convenient; - applied to things as persons.
That they [engines of war] be both easy to be carried and handsome to be moved and turned about.
For a thief it is so handsome as it may seem it was first invented for him.
Agreeable to the eye or to correct taste; having a pleasing appearance or expression; attractive; having symmetry and dignity; comely; - expressing more than pretty, and less than beautiful; as, a handsome man or woman; a handsome garment, house, tree, horse.
Suitable or fit in action; marked with propriety and ease; graceful; becoming; appropriate; as, a handsome style, etc.
Easiness and handsome address in writing.
Evincing a becoming generosity or nobleness of character; liberal; generous.
Handsome is as handsome does.
Ample; moderately large.
He . . . accumulated a handsome sum of money.
To render handsome.
Pleasing in appearance especially by reason of conformity to ideals of form and proportion;
A fine-looking woman
A good-looking man
Better-looking than her sister
Very pretty but not so extraordinarily handsome
Our southern women are well-favored
Given or giving freely;
Was a big tipper
The bounteous goodness of God
A freehanded host
A handsome allowance
Saturday's child is loving and giving
A liberal backer of the arts
A munificent gift
Her fond and openhanded grandfather
Having strong, good looks, often male
He is a handsome man.
Well-proportioned and sturdy
That's a handsome building.
Does beautiful imply delicacy?
Often, beautiful suggests a sense of elegance or grace.
Can beautiful describe things other than people?
Yes, beautiful can describe landscapes, art, and even ideas.
Does beautiful always refer to physical appearance?
No, beautiful can also describe emotional or intellectual qualities.
Can beautiful be used to describe men?
Yes, beautiful can describe men, although it is more commonly used for women.
Is handsome used for objects or scenery?
Rarely, handsome is most often used to describe people.
Is handsome used for women?
Less commonly, but it can describe a woman with a strong, refined appearance.
Can beautiful and handsome be used interchangeably?
Sometimes, but they carry different connotations and gender usages.
Can handsome describe a financial profit?
Yes, "a handsome profit" is a phrase that means a substantial gain.
Does handsome imply strength?
Yes, handsome often connotes strength or confidence.
Is beautiful a gender-neutral term?
Generally, beautiful is more neutral and can apply to any gender.
Is handsome used in formal contexts?
Handsome is appropriate in both formal and informal settings.
Can beautiful describe actions?
Yes, actions like a "beautiful gesture" can be described as beautiful.
Can beautiful describe sounds or music?
Yes, beautiful can describe harmonious or pleasing sounds.
Can handsome describe craftsmanship?
Yes, a well-made object can be called a "handsome piece of craftsmanship."
Does handsome have historical connotations?
Yes, handsome often implies a classic, timeless sort of beauty.
Written bySawaira Riaz
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Edited byHuma Saeed
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