adjective, hand·som·er, hand·som·est.
Origin of handsome
In the English of the mid-15th century, when this word was first recorded (as hondsom ), it meant “easy to handle” (obsolete now); by the mid-16th century handsome developed the senses “convenient, handy, suitable” (also obsolete) and “courteous, gracious,” and then “generous, noble, magnanimous.” Here we see the development from a meaning closely related to hands to one that simply implies their existence (behind the generosity).
The sense “(of a person) having an attractive appearance” dates from the late 16th century; the sense of “fairly large, considerable (as of an amount of money)” also dates from the latter half of the 16th century.
Examples from the Web for handsome
I think everybody would like to be handsome and good at karate.‘Archer’ Creator Adam Reed Spills Season 6 Secrets, From Surreal Plotlines to Life Post-ISIS|Marlow Stern|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The handsome Alexander Gilkes is one of the best-connected tastemakers on the art scene.William, Kate, and Jay Z’s Favorite Art Star: Alexander Gilkes' World of Rock Stars and Royalty|Tim Teeman|December 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Mark Reay is a handsome model-turned-photographer who is homeless, living in a secret ‘nest’ on top of an apartment building.
Creator Takeuchi has described the handsome, older (than Sailor Moon) boy as her favorite character in the series.‘Sailor Moon’ Is an Oasis for Superheroes Who Can Save the Universe in Heels|Rich Goldstein|November 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Why aren't you as handsome and/or Canadian as Justin Bieber?Justin Bieber Isn’t Even 21, Yet Makes More Money Than Meryl Streep|Amy Zimmerman|November 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST
He was jealous, too, of the toyshop keepers who were selling their handsome wares.Mitz and Fritz of Germany|Madeline Brandeis
His brother Olaf was a tall, thin man; handsome in countenance; lively, modest, and popular.Heimskringla|Snorri Sturlason
Attractive, rather than handsome, was the epithet best suited to describe Adeline Mowbray.Adeline Mowbray|Amelia Alderson Opie
A handsome man is very dry fuel near a young lady's warm heart—her enthusiasm soon glows into a blaze.Miles Tremenhere, Vol 1 of 2|Annette Marie Maillard
He is near her own age, and he is a handsome fellow, full of life and spirit.Rodman the Keeper|Constance Fenimore Woolson
British Dictionary definitions for handsome
Word Origin for handsome
Word Origin and History for handsome
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]