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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for buxom
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All the pretty heads were a foot under ground, and the roots, like the locks of a mermaid, wooing the buxom air.

    Cradock Nowell, Vol. 1 (of 3) Richard Doddridge Blackmore
  • If the shadowy roeshad is not for me neither is her cousin, the buxom roebuck.

    Cobb's Bill-of-Fare Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
  • The costly jewels sparkled / with far-piercing ray From out their richest vestments, / and buxom all were they.

  • She was a buxom girl with dark hair and eyes, calm and self-possessed.

    My Antonia Willa Cather
  • But her aunt was a fair picture of a ship-master's widow; solid, comfortable and buxom.

    Jack Tier or The Florida Reef James Fenimore Cooper
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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