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Amanda Miller
November 3, 2023
Reading time
3 min read

How to express beauty in English | Words for describing appearance

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but how do we put that beauty into words?
How to express beauty in English | Words for describing appearance

How to express beauty in English | Words for describing appearance

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but how do we put that beauty into words? There are times when we need to describe how beautiful or good-looking someone is. In English, we have a rich collection of words and expressions to talk about beauty.

A diversity of words for beauty

Some words that we ascribe to beauty are cute, comely, pretty, appealing, gorgeous, stunning, radiant, hot, sexy, and fine. These words allow us to convey different degrees and aspects of attractiveness. In English, we have a diverse vocabulary to express our admiration for someone's looks.

If a man or woman is nice-looking or good-looking, we often say that they are beautiful. For example, you can say, "Betty is a beautiful woman," or "Bob is a beautiful man." The word "beautiful" is gender-neutral and can be used for both genders. However, when referring specifically to men, it's more common to use the word "handsome." So, instead, you can say, "Bob is a very handsome man."

A handsome looking man

Varied expressions of beauty

To describe someone in an endearing and dainty way, we can call them cute or adorable. For example, "Tracy's twins are so cute. They look just like their dad," or "Tracy's kids are so adorable. They look like little angels." When we call someone cute, adorable, or angelic, it's a compliment that means they are delightful, just like a child. It's heartwarming to use such expressions to appreciate someone's charm.

"Pretty" is another word that describes someone's appearance as pleasing, attractive, proper, and wholesome. For instance, you can say, "Sharon is very pretty, especially when she smiles." This word emphasizes not only attractiveness but also carries a sense of propriety and wholesomeness.

A pretty woman

When someone is attractive in an interesting way, we say they are appealing or breathtaking. Imagine being at a romantic dinner where a woman might say, "I can't take my eyes off you. Your smile is so appealing." And her date might respond, "You are simply breathtaking." These words highlight the impact and mesmerizing effect of someone's beauty.

When someone, more often a woman, has an attractive glow or aura, we say that they are radiant. For example, at a wedding, you can say, "Doesn't the bride look radiant?" This word encapsulates the idea of someone emanating an attractive and positive energy. Furthermore, if someone is extremely attractive and possesses desirable traits, you can say, "She has looks to die for."

Casual and colloquial expressions

Among friends, it's very common to use the word "fine" when describing someone who is really good-looking. For example, you can say, "Kyle is so fine," or "Kelly looks fine. I think I'll ask her out." It's a casual and colloquial way of expressing admiration for someone's appearance. Additionally, friends might playfully say, "When Denzel Washington was younger, he was as fine as a glass of wine." These expressions add a touch of lightheartedness and camaraderie to the conversation.

Denzel Washington

To say someone is attractive in a sexual manner, English provides words like "hot," "sexy," or "smoking hot." These words can be used to express desire and attraction. For example, a husband might tell his wife, "Babe, you look smoking hot in that dress." Similarly, a wife might tell her husband, "You look so sexy in those jeans."

Sometimes, people also use these words in a playful way to say someone looks great or fantastic. For instance, a daughter might tell her mother, "Wow, Mom! You look hot today. Dad had better not let you out of his sight!" It's important to note the context and audience when using such words to ensure appropriateness.

Teenagers often use slang words to describe an attractive woman. Some examples include "hottie," "bomb," and "bangin'." For instance, a young man might say, "I met this hottie at the club. Her face was bomb, and her body was bangin.'" These words have a more youthful and informal connotation.

Another common way that people describe someone's looks is by using a rating scale, usually from 1 to 10. One represents not being particularly attractive, while 10 signifies being exceptionally gorgeous. So, someone might say, "I met this guy yesterday. He was a 10 out of 10," or "He was a perfect 10!" This rating system adds a numerical element to the conversation about beauty.

The sincerity behind the words

English provides a wide range of words and expressions to describe someone's appearance, allowing us to express our admiration and appreciation for the beauty we encounter. However, it's crucial to remember that beauty is subjective and personal. Respecting individual preferences and boundaries is always paramount.

Man showing genuine emotion

So go ahead and celebrate the beauty around you, whether it's through a heartfelt compliment or an appreciative glance. Remember, it's not just the words you choose, but also the sincerity and thoughtfulness behind them that truly matter.