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handsome

[han-suh m]
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adjective, hand·som·er, hand·som·est.
  1. having an attractive, well-proportioned, and imposing appearance suggestive of health and strength; good-looking: a handsome man; a handsome woman.
  2. having pleasing proportions, relationships, or arrangements, as of shapes, forms, or colors; attractive: a handsome house; a handsome interior.
  3. exhibiting skill, taste, and refinement; well-made: a handsome story; handsome furniture.
  4. considerable, ample, or liberal in amount: a handsome fortune.
  5. gracious; generous; flattering: a handsome compliment; a handsome recommendation.
  6. 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 formshand·some·ish, adjectivehand·some·ness, nounsu·per·hand·some, adjective

Synonyms

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4. large, generous, munificent.

Synonym study

1. See beautiful.

Antonyms

1. ugly. 4, 5. small, miserly.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for handsomest

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He is a very handsome man: he is the handsomest man I ever saw, if that's all!

  • Major Harper, the oldest, most refined and most soldierly of them all, was also the handsomest.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • Of course the short-haired white cat is the handsomest of all.

    Concerning Cats

    Helen M. Winslow

  • I shall give you the handsomest diamond-necklace that was ever made in England.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • Her mouth was not the smallest, but it was the handsomest mouth in the world.


British Dictionary definitions for handsomest

handsome

adjective
  1. (of a man) good-looking, esp in having regular, pleasing, and well-defined features
  2. (of a woman) fine-looking in a dignified way
  3. well-proportioned, stately, or comelya handsome room
  4. liberal or amplea handsome allowance
  5. gracious or generousa handsome action
  6. Southwest English pleasanthandsome weather
noun
  1. Southwest English a term of endearment for a beloved person, esp in my handsome
Derived Formshandsomely, adverbhandsomeness, noun

Word Origin

C15: handsom easily handled; compare Dutch handzaam; see hand, -some 1
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

Word Origin and History for handsomest

handsome

adj.

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