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hand +‎ -some, compare Dutch handzaam.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhænsəm/
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  • Hyphenation: hand‧some


handsome (comparative more handsome or handsomer, superlative most handsome or handsomest)

  1. (obsolete, said of things and people) Dexterous; skillful.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Robynson, Utopia:
      That they [engines of war] be both easy to be carried and handsome to be moved and turned about.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Edmund Spenser, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      For a thief it is so handsome as it may seem it was first invented for him
  2. (of a man) Visually attractive; pleasant looking.
    a handsome man; a handsome garment, house, tree, horse.
  3. (of a woman) Striking, impressive and elegantly proportioned, though not typically beautiful.
    • 1662, Samuel Pepys
      I saw, I confess, some good dancing and some handsome women, which was all my pleasure.
  4. Suitable or fit in action; marked with propriety and ease; graceful; becoming; appropriate.
    a handsome style, etc.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Felton, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Easiness and handsome address in writing.
  5. Generous or noble in character.
    Handsome is as handsome does.
  6. Ample; moderately large.
    a handsome salary
    • (Can we date this quote?), V. Knox, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      He . . . accumulated a handsome sum of money.
  7. Having a good appearance.
    • 2011 November 5, Phil Dawkes, “QPR 2 - 3 Man City”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      City have lapped up the plaudits this season for a series of handsome wins but manager Roberto Mancini has demanded that his side also learn to grind out results when they do not play well. He now has an example to point to.


Derived termsEdit



handsome (third-person singular simple present handsomes, present participle handsoming, simple past and past participle handsomed)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To render handsome.