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All these adjectives apply to what excites aesthetic admiration. Beautiful is most comprehensive and applies to mental appreciation as well as sensual delight: a beautiful child; a beautiful painting; a beautiful mathematical proof. Lovely also has wide application but stresses sensual enjoyment or emotional response over critical faculties: a lovely fragrance; the lovely feel of silk; greeted us with a lovely smile. What is pretty is beautiful in a delicate or graceful way: a pretty face; a pretty song; a pretty dress. Handsome stresses poise and dignity of form and proportion: a handsome, oak-paneled library. "She is very pretty, but not so extraordinarily handsome" (William Makepeace Thackeray).
Comely suggests wholesome physical attractiveness: "Mrs. Hurd is a large woman with a big, comely, simple face" (Ernest Hemingway).
Fair emphasizes freshness or purity: "In the highlands, in the country places, / Where the old plain men have rosy faces, / And the young fair maidens / Quiet eyes" (Robert Louis Stevenson).
beau•ti•ful(ˈbyu tə fəl)
The following words can all be used to describe someone who is nice to look at:
Attractive and gorgeous are also used to describe young children, but good-looking is not.
Handsome is used more often to describe men than women. It is used to describe any man who has regular, pleasant features. However, it is only used to describe women when their features are large and regular rather than small and delicate.
Beautiful and pretty are generally used to describe women and children rather than men. Only very young boys are described as pretty, not older boys, because this word implies a delicate, feminine appearance.
You can also describe a woman as stunning, especially when she has made herself look particularly attractive or is wearing very attractive clothes.
If you say that someone is beautiful, you are implying that they are nicer to look at than if you said they were attractive, good-looking, handsome, or pretty. If you say that someone is gorgeous or stunning, you mean that they are extremely nice to look at.
You can describe someone's appearance by saying that they look nice or look wonderful, but if you call someone a nice man or a wonderful woman, or say that they are nice or are wonderful, you are describing their character, not their appearance. Similarly, lovely is more often used to describe someone's character than their appearance.
|Adj.||1.||beautiful - delighting the senses or exciting intellectual or emotional admiration; "a beautiful child"; "beautiful country"; "a beautiful painting"; "a beautiful theory"; "a beautiful party"|
attractive - pleasing to the eye or mind especially through beauty or charm; "a remarkably attractive young man"; "an attractive personality"; "attractive clothes"; "a book with attractive illustrations"
graceful - characterized by beauty of movement, style, form, or execution
pleasing - giving pleasure and satisfaction; "a pleasing piece of news"; "pleasing in manner and appearance"
ugly - displeasing to the senses; "an ugly face"; "ugly furniture"
|2.||beautiful - (of weather) highly enjoyable; "what a beautiful day"|
pleasant - affording pleasure; being in harmony with your taste or likings; "we had a pleasant evening together"; "a pleasant scene"; "pleasant sensations"
attractive ugly, unpleasant, hideous, unattractive, unsightly, repulsive
wonderful bad, terrible, awful
"Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance" [John Ruskin Stones of Venice]
"I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may, - light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful" [John Constable]
"Things are beautiful if you love them" [Jean Anouilh Mademoiselle Colombe]