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[han-suh m] /ˈhæn səm/
adjective, handsomer, handsomest.
having an attractive, well-proportioned, and imposing appearance suggestive of health and strength; good-looking:
a handsome man; a handsome woman.
having pleasing proportions, relationships, or arrangements, as of shapes, forms, or colors; attractive:
a handsome house; a handsome interior.
exhibiting skill, taste, and refinement; well-made:
a handsome story; handsome furniture.
considerable, ample, or liberal in amount:
a handsome fortune.
gracious; generous; flattering:
a handsome compliment; a handsome recommendation.
adroit and appealing; graceful:
a handsome speech.
Origin of handsome
1350-1400; Middle English handsom easy to handle (see hand, -some1); cognate with Dutch handzaam tractable
Related forms
handsomeish, adjective
handsomeness, noun
superhandsome, adjective
4. large, generous, munificent.
1. ugly. 4, 5. small, miserly.
Synonym Study
1. See beautiful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for handsomer
Historical Examples
  • And I wonder if his palace was handsomer than the Khedive's?

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • It makes you handsomer than ever; and who so handsome as you at any time, my pretty one!'

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • One evening, Laurent found her looking younger and handsomer.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • There's not a handsomer girl in Ireland; and as to skin, she 's not as brown as her father.

    Barrington Charles James Lever
  • He grew up to be a fine man; some thought him handsomer than my father.

    The Daltons, Volume II (of II) Charles James Lever
  • They were probably not handsomer than Oxford rowing crews or Eton boys.

  • You think there are handsomer boats in the room than these, do you?

    Steve and the Steam Engine Sara Ware Bassett
  • He was now twenty-eight, and if there was a handsomer man in the Northland I had yet to see him.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • The former youths had been handsome, but this one was handsomer still.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • After some minutes, he cried, 'I swear she is handsomer than the queen!'

    Frank Merriwell's Bravery Burt L. Standish
British Dictionary definitions for handsomer


(of a man) good-looking, esp in having regular, pleasing, and well-defined features
(of a woman) fine-looking in a dignified way
well-proportioned, stately, or comely: a handsome room
liberal or ample: a handsome allowance
gracious or generous: a handsome action
(Southwest English) pleasant: handsome weather
(Southwest English) a term of endearment for a beloved person, esp in my handsome
Derived Forms
handsomely, adverb
handsomeness, noun
Word Origin
C15: handsom easily handled; compare Dutch handzaam; see hand, -some1
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 handsomer



c.1400, handsom "easy to handle, ready at hand," from hand (n.) + -some (1). Sense extended to "fair size, considerable" (1570s), then "having fine form, good-looking" (1580s). Meaning "generous" (in handsome reward, etc.) first recorded 1680s.

[Americans] use the word "handsome" much more extensively than we do: saying that Webster made a handsome speech in the Senate: that a lady talks handsomely, (eloquently:) that a book sells handsomely. A gentleman asked me on the Catskill Mountain, whether I thought the sun handsomer there than at New York. [Harriet Martineau, "Society in America," 1837]
Related: Handsomeness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for handsomer


Related Terms

high* wide* and handsome

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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