[ puhl-kri-tood, -tyood ]
/ ˈpʌl krɪˌtud, -ˌtyud /
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physical beauty; comeliness.



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Origin of pulchritude

First recorded in 1450–1500; late Middle English, from Latin pulchritūdō “beauty,” equivalent to pulchri- (combining form of pulcher “beautiful”) + -tūdō noun suffix; see -tude
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does pulchritude mean?

Pulchritude means physical beauty or attractiveness.

Pulchritude is a fancy (and outdated) way of talking about how someone or something is good-looking. It’s quite rare and, for that reason, usually used for humorous effect.

The adjective form of pulchritude is pulchritudinous, meaning beautiful.

Example: The makeup artist kept talking about the pulchritude of my epidermis, which I guess means I have nice skin.

Where does pulchritude come from?

The first records of pulchritude in English come from around the 1400s. It comes from the Latin word pulchritūdō, meaning “beauty.” The adjective pulchritudinous began to appear in the early 1700s and gained popularity in the 1800s with American authors who started using the word because it was humorously long and overly complicated.

Pulchritude doesn’t sound like it means “beauty,” and that’s usually precisely why it’s used—to be ironic, facetious, or just silly. Because there are many more common words that could be used instead, pulchritude is a word most people either don’t know or avoid using so as not to cause confusion. But if you want to get fancy or a bit cheeky, pulchritude is a beautiful choice. The adjective form pulchritudinous is perhaps more common, though still uncommon in general.

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What are some other forms related to pulchritude

What are some synonyms for pulchritude?

What are some words that share a root or word element with pulchritude

What are some words that often get used in discussing pulchritude?

How is pulchritude used in real life?

Because it’s clunky and relatively obscure, pulchritude isn’t often used in everyday conversation. When it is used, it’s most likely for humorous effect—or because someone is raiding the thesaurus for synonyms for beauty.



Try using pulchritude!

Is pulchritude used correctly in the following sentence?

Her pulchritude is unmatched, her beauty known throughout the kingdom.

British Dictionary definitions for pulchritude

/ (ˈpʌlkrɪˌtjuːd) /


formal, or literary physical beauty
pulchritudinous, adjective
C15: from Latin pulchritūdō, from pulcher beautiful
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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