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[buhk-suh m] /ˈbʌk səm/
(of a woman) full-bosomed.
(of a woman) healthy, plump, cheerful, and lively.
Origin of buxom
1125-75; Middle English, earlier buhsum pliant, equivalent to Old English būh (variant stem of būgan to bow1) + -sum -some1
Related forms
buxomly, adverb
buxomness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for buxom
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was English, and by nature, of a buxom figure and cheerful.

    The Uncommercial Traveller Charles Dickens
  • She was genial, buxom and apple-faced, as becomes a landlady.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • But the Peakes are happy, and the twins are growing up to be buxom children.

    Darry the Life Saver Frank V. Webster
  • It amused him to see the buxom women flagging the train at crossings.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • buxom were Craigiebuckle's "dochters," and Jamie was Janet's accepted suitor.

    Auld Licht Idylls

    J. M. Barrie
British Dictionary definitions for buxom


(esp of a woman) healthily plump, attractive, and vigorous
(of a woman) full-bosomed
Derived Forms
buxomly, adverb
buxomness, noun
Word Origin
C12: buhsum compliant, pliant, from Old English būgan to bend, bow1; related to Middle Dutch būchsam pliant, German biegsam
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for buxom

late 12c., buhsum "humble, obedient," from Proto-Germanic *buh- stem of Old English bugen "to bow" (see bow (v.)) + -som, for a total meaning "capable of being bent."

Meaning progressed from "compliant, obliging," through "lively, jolly," "healthily plump, vigorous," to (in women, and perhaps influenced by lusty) "plump, comely" (1580s). Used often of breasts, and by 1950s it had begun to be used more narrowly for "bosomy" and could be paired with slim (adj.). Dutch buigzaam, German biegsam "flexible, pliable" hew closer to the original sense of the English cognate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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