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From Middle English bewteful, beautefull (attractive to the eye, beautiful), equivalent to beauty +‎ -ful. Displaced earlier sheen (from Middle English schene (beautiful), from Old English scīene (beautiful)), Middle English wliti (beautiful), from Old English wlitiġ (beautiful).


  • enPR: byo͞oʹtĭ-fəl, IPA(key): [ˈbjuːtɪfəɫ]
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈbjut̬ɪfəɫ/
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  • Hyphenation: beau‧ti‧ful


beautiful (comparative more beautiful, superlative most beautiful)

  1. Attractive and possessing charm.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 5, in The China Governess[1]:
      It's rather like a beautiful Inverness cloak one has inherited. Much too good to hide away, so one wears it instead of an overcoat and pretends it's an amusing new fashion.
    Anyone who has ever met her thought she was absolutely beautiful.
    There's a beautiful lake by the town.
  2. (of the weather) Pleasant; clear.
    It's beautiful outside, let's go for a walk.
  3. Well executed.
    The skater performed a beautiful axel.

Usage notes

The comparatives beautifuler and beautifuller, and the superlatives beautifulest and beautifullest have also occasionally been used, but are nonstandard.



Derived terms

Related terms



Most common English words before 1923 in Project Gutenberg: England · sense · ten · #422: beautiful · possible · mark · followed