Definition of handsome in English:


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adjectiveadjective handsomer, adjective handsomest

  • 1(of a man) good-looking.

    ‘He's handsome, with chiselled good looks and hypnotic blue eyes that make Mel Gibson's pale by comparison.’
    • ‘In the same way as the handsome David replaced the good-looking Saul, Esther replaced Vashti.’
    • ‘He was extraordinarily handsome - better looking than most movie stars.’
    • ‘These are fine, upstanding, handsome men, who were all wearing their formal uniforms and drinking heavily.’
    • ‘There is this girl who is very flirty with almost every guy she meets, especially tall, cute, handsome guys.’
    • ‘When he was courting Gertrude, he was a handsome man and a fine dancer.’
    • ‘And he backed up a few steps and saw that a stunningly handsome man replaced the black hood and long cloak.’
    • ‘He couldn't deny that he was a handsome man, with fine features and light hair that waved over his forehead.’
    • ‘I know I'm crazy, I mean who wouldn't want to go on a date with this cute and handsome guy?’
    • ‘His face emerged for the first time, giving her a view of a stunningly handsome man of about thirty.’
    • ‘He's a very handsome guy, as you know, apparently, still good looking.’
    • ‘Growing up he was tall and good looking and could be described as the most handsome man in the parish.’
    • ‘He was handsome, she was gorgeous and on screen they were electric.’
    • ‘There's Irene at the wedding of a handsome chap and spunky blonde who we now call the mayor and mayoress.’
    • ‘I have now place my first personal ad, inviting handsome fellows to ball games.’
    • ‘And the great story of this is this little shy governess who isn't all that attractive really but she gets the handsome man, she gets Rochester.’
    • ‘But the man in her life, a trim, handsome fellow who works as an airline pilot, was sitting on the edge of the bed in his running gear, and tapping on a laptop.’
    • ‘I wouldn't say he's especially handsome, although he's reasonably good looking and presentable.’
    • ‘Now, I don't find Brad Pitt in the slightest bit attractive, but I can accept that he's a handsome man.’
    • ‘The other bloke was handsome, tall, drink in hand and lazily people watching as I had been.’
    good-looking, nice-looking, attractive, personable, striking, stunning, fine, well proportioned, well formed
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    1. 1.1(of a woman) striking and imposing in good looks rather than conventionally pretty.
      ‘Besides which, dangerous or no, she was a rather handsome woman.’
      • ‘He shows genuine fondness for her as a strikingly handsome woman.’
      • ‘The man jokingly uttered an ‘Eh,’ sitting back as a rather handsome waitress visited our table.’
      • ‘A strikingly handsome woman, she was a pillar of the New York literary establishment, much sought after by men.’
      • ‘Rather, she was handsome with long bones, lean muscles, and almost no fat.’
      • ‘The reporters are all Emma Thompson / Kate Winslet clones, handsome women, but not too pretty.’
      • ‘She was a handsome woman then of course, the prettiest in Shepherds Bush some said.’
      • ‘A handsome girl, elegantly dressed and holding a large fan, gazes out over the balustrade.’
      • ‘Jean was a handsome woman with awesome personal charm and great presence.’
      • ‘She was a tall woman, almost regal looking, however under no stretch of the imagination could she be described as pretty, although she was handsome.’
      • ‘A tall, handsome woman with the colouring and cheekbones of her Irish engineer father, Murphy exudes both strength and sensitivity.’
      • ‘Loren won a beauty contest at the age of 14, and she and Romilda, who was a handsome woman herself, embarked on careers as film extras.’
      • ‘A tall, strong, handsome woman, she looks momentarily lost and vulnerable.’
      • ‘Belinda is a handsome woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to John Cusack.’
      • ‘She's now a quite handsome woman, I don't really know her but we have a mutual friend.’
      • ‘Actually, he reflected, Hannah Zachal was a handsome woman, despite her prickly personality.’
      • ‘She had handsome, rather than pretty, features and deep brown eyes.’
      • ‘The handsome woman was well-liked - her graceful and cheery disposition a welcome addition to the small community of Opunake.’
      • ‘Amelia Grayson had always been a handsome woman.’
      • ‘For as well as being intelligent, she was a handsome woman!’
      striking, imposing, prepossessing, elegant, stately, dignified, statuesque, good-looking, nice-looking, attractive, personable
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    2. 1.2(of a thing) well made, imposing, and of obvious quality.
      ‘handsome cookbooks’
      • ‘a handsome country town’
      • ‘Serious hunters have long sought Zeiss riflescopes for their handsome looks and quality optics.’
      • ‘They said, however, that it was a handsome town and that with continued effort and support from businesses and individuals it had great potential.’
      • ‘Built in 1778, this handsome town house is set within screened gardens that overlook Banff and the mouth of the River Deveron.’
      • ‘The Observer has had to apologise for saying the handsome town of North Shields is in Northumbria.’
      • ‘The government and commercial buildings - excluding the many pubs littering the entire town - were handsome and well maintained.’
      • ‘What I like most about the Armor-Tuff finish is its handsome, subdued appearance and non-reflective qualities.’
      • ‘The leading falcon was handsome all right, but there is a strange quality about him.’
      • ‘The nearby town centre has a popular street market and handsome buildings.’
      • ‘Situated on the eastern edge of the New Town, this first-floor property forms part of a handsome Georgian building.’
      • ‘The original capital had been Ciutedella at the western end, a site favoured by the Arabs: the town is still run from the handsome palace alley built for their governor.’
      • ‘A bonfire flares beside the handsome, Tudor-style Redstone Inn, the town's big hotel and restaurant.’
      • ‘He lived with his parents, two sisters and one brother in a large, handsome sylvan residence outside the town.’
      • ‘Underwood is clearly a handsome house in very generous grounds.’
      • ‘This colorful and handsome site featuring fine gifts and collectibles is a breeze to navigate through.’
      • ‘The contents are systematically arranged and liberally illustrated with handsome and informative colour photographs and diagrams.’
      • ‘It is the more disappointing that the handsome, generously illustrated volume that has finally been published shows no evidence of new investigation.’
  • 2(of a number, sum of money, or margin) substantial.

    ‘elected by a handsome majority’
    • ‘Congratulations to those involved with the venture as a very handsome sum of money was raised and overall it was a great night, enjoyed by all present.’
    • ‘First of all one has to pay quite a handsome sum of money for its large cage and feed.’
    • ‘Under the government guidelines, journalists cough up a handsome sum of money to the government and individual officials.’
    • ‘But his compensation as a discard was substantial - a handsome pension and a barony in 1761, when even his minor post was needed for someone else.’
    • ‘That both sides have offered their respective industries handsome sums in state funding cannot be disputed.’
    • ‘Remember, all states but Queensland already charge a handsome sum in petrol taxes.’
    • ‘I paid a handsome sum of twenty dollars for home plate box seats.’
    • ‘Certain politicians and federal judges were actually paid handsome sums in order to coronate Hayes and to overturn the election.’
    • ‘They'll tell us so much, and no more, and demand handsome sums because they know publishers are desperate to get their names into print and shift some trees.’
    • ‘Tourists who flock to the city pay guides handsome sums to walk in places where he never trod, and drink in pubs where he only slaked his thirst on paper.’
    • ‘The handsome sum of E1,000 was raised and a cheque for that amount has gone to the Special Olympics.’
    • ‘Officers and councillors are not our masters but servants of the populace, the council tax payers make their handsome salaries, pension conditions and allowances possible.’
    • ‘Winning first prize, it was supposed to bring the first-time author the handsome sum of five hundred dollars.’
    • ‘Today, we still own the vast majority of these shares, plus we've received handsome dividends (the income paid by shares) along the way.’
    • ‘This service would cost Prakong a handsome sum of 40,000 baht.’
    • ‘Moreover his brothers got paid a handsome sum not to develop state-owned lands in Arizona.’
    • ‘Father had to pay a handsome sum, but when it comes to my mother, he spares no expense.’
    • ‘Mind you, it is a pity that other Scottish pundits are not as forthright as Walker was last week, many evidently willing to accept handsome pay packets for doing little more than stating the obvious.’
    • ‘The handsome tributes paid to her at last week's annual Town Council meeting were no less than she deserved.’
    • ‘One of my best Wiltshire Leaks is obviously behind a letter bearing a handsome cheque for five crisp crunchies, no less.’
    substantial, considerable, sizeable, large, big, ample, abundant, bumper, plentiful
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/ˈhan(t)səm/ /ˈhæn(t)səm/


    handsome is as handsome does
    • Character and behavior are more important than appearance.

      ‘It’s a very handsome looking camera but, as the saying goes, handsome is as handsome does.’
      • ‘He didn't look overly impressive when beating Straw Bear at Sandown last month but handsome is as handsome does and Philip Hobbs’ grey still got the job done.’
      • ‘Blandford resident Sue Joyal and her stallion, WBM's Commodore, prove handsome is as handsome does.’
      • ‘If handsome is as handsome does, in this case handsome does very well indeed.’
      • ‘"Handsome is as handsome does, sweetheart," she pleaded, interceding for the orphan with arms that were still beautiful.’
      • ‘He's a handsome man, not as handsome perhaps as my real father but handsome is as handsome does and this man is no philanderer, he cherishes Mother.’


Middle English from hand+ -some. The original sense was ‘easy to handle or use’, hence ‘suitable’ and ‘apt, clever’ (mid 16th century), giving rise to the current appreciatory senses (late 16th century).