adjective, hand·som·er, hand·som·est.
Origin of handsome
Related formshand·some·ish, adjectivehand·some·ness, nounsu·per·hand·some, adjective
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 handsomer
Accordingly, a much larger and handsomer building was erected.The Popes and Science|James J. Walsh
The flowers were superb—and I don't think any of the women had a handsomer gown than I did.Vignettes of Manhattan; Outlines in Local Color|Brander Matthews
Lady Charlotte is handsomer than Lady Augusta: she sings better, but she has less good sense and less sweetness.The Royal Institution|Bence Jones
That is a handsomer ornament of a dinner-table than clusters of nosegays, and all sorts of uneatable decorations.Gryll Grange|Thomas Love Peacock
The world would have said, "Nothing can be handsomer than Mr. Robert Beaufort's conduct!"Night and Morning, Complete|Edward Bulwer-Lytton