[ puhl-kri-tood-n-uhs, -tyood- ]
/ ˌpʌl krɪˈtud n əs, -ˈtyud- /
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physically beautiful; comely.
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Origin of pulchritudinous

An Americanism dating back to 1875–80; from Latin pulchritūdin- (stem of pulchritūdō ) + -ous

Words nearby pulchritudinous

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does pulchritudinous mean?

Pulchritudinous is an adjective that means physically beautiful or attractive.

Pulchritudinous is a grandiose way of saying someone or something is good-looking. It’s quite rare and, for that reason, usually used for humorous effect.

Example: The makeup artist said my epidermis was pulchritudinous, which I guess means I have nice skin.

Where does pulchritudinous come from?

Pulchritudinous combines the Latin word pulchritūdō, meaning “beauty,” with the adjectival suffix -ous, meaning “full of.” (Pulchritūdō also gives us the noun pulchritude, meaning “physical beauty” and first recorded in the 1400s.) 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.

Pulchritudinous doesn’t sound like it means “beautiful,” and that’s usually precisely why it’s used—to be ironic, facetious, or just silly. Washington Irving employed it in The Crayon Miscellany (1835) alongside other unnecessarily complex words to make fun of an advertisement for ginger ale.

Because there are many shorter, more common words that could be used instead, pulchritudinous 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, pulchritudinous is a beautiful choice.

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What are some other forms of pulchritudinous?

What are some synonyms for pulchritudinous?

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

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

How is pulchritudinous used in real life?

Because it’s long and relatively obscure, pulchritudinous 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 beautiful.



Try using pulchritudinous!

Is pulchritudinous used correctly in the following sentence?

The pulchritudinous hunchback Quasimodo hid in the bell tower because the people were repulsed by him.

How to use pulchritudinous in a sentence

  • From the beginning he and his friends have capitalized his poverty of pulchritude and his pulchritudinous poverty.

    Idling in Italy|Joseph Collins
  • There are places where no girl can get work unless she's pulchritudinous.