adjective, hand·som·er, hand·som·est.
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Origin of handsome
synonym study for handsome
historical usage 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.
OTHER WORDS FROM handsomehand·some·ish, adjectivehand·some·ness, nounsu·per·hand·some, adjective
Example sentences from the Web for handsome
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