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These adjectives mean having an abundance and often an excess of flesh. Fat implies more weight than one desires or than is considered desirable by social norms: was getting fat and decided to exercise. Overweight conveys the sense that the weight is above a medical standard for age or height and may be unhealthy: oversized garments for overweight customers. Another word with medical connotations, obese means grossly overweight: "a woman of robust frame ... though stout, not obese" (Charlotte Brontë).
While corpulent also refers to conspicuous body weight, it is not always as judgmental a term as obese: the corpulent figure of the seated Buddha. Portly refers to bulk combined with a stately or imposing bearing: A portly guard blocked the doorway. Stout denotes a thickset, bulky figure: a painting of stout peasants. Pudgy means short and fat: pudgy fingers. Rotund refers to the roundness of figure associated with a spreading midsection: "this pink-faced rotund specimen of prosperity" (George Eliot).
Plump and chubby apply to a pleasing fullness of figure: a plump little toddler; chubby cheeks.
- Blew up like a poisoned dog —Rita Mae Brown
The simile refers to a character in the novel, Southern Discomfort, who became fat after having a child.
- Body … encased in fat, like an insulated boiler —A. Alvarez
- Body plump as a church rat’s —Honoré de Balzac
- Broad as a barn door —John Heywood’s Proverbs
A shorter, modern version: “Broad as a door.”
- (At the hips … she was) broad as a sofa —Saul Bellow
- Corpulent as a fire plug —Samuel Shem Fine
- Fat and sleek: a dumpling —D. H. Lawrence
- Fat as a balloon —Mark Twain
- Fat as a duck —John Adams
The man Adams compared to a duck was Aaron Burr.
- Fat as a fool —John Lyly
- Fat as an owl —Miles Gibson
- Fat as a pig —John Cotgrave
This is probably the most famous and often used “Fat as” comparison. Its earliest version “Fat as a pork hog” appeared in Sir Thomas Mallory’s Morte d’Arthur. An offshoot, “Fat as a hen in the forehead,” has been variously attributed to the playwrights Beaumont and Fletcher, and Jonathan Swift.
- (I shall grow) fat as a porpoise —Jonathan Swift
- Fat as a whale —Geoffrey Chaucer
- Fat as butter —William Shakespeare
A variation which has become an American colloquialism is “Fat as a butter-ball.”
- Fat as plenty —Hugh Ward
- The fat on her was like loose-powdered dough —Carson McCullers
- Fat overflowed not only from her jowl to her neck, but from her ankles to her shoes … she looked like a pudding that had risen too high and run down the sides of the dish —Nadine Gordimer
- (He was) fattening like a Christmas goose —Calder Willingham
- Grew fat as a broiler —Kate Wheeler
- He was fat, with a belly creased like a roll when he bent over —John Gunther
- His stomach swells like a big cake baking —Carolyn Chute
- I was square and looked like a refrigerator approaching —Jean Kerr
Kerr likened herself to a refrigerator when she was pregnant.
- Pudgy as a baby’s hand —Jonathan Valin
- Plump as an abbot —Robert Traver
- Plump as a partridge —John Ray’s Proverbs
- She was round and plump as her favorite teapot —Peter De Vries
- Stout as a stump —James Crumley
- (Piglets) stout as jugs —W. D. Snodgrass
- (A short man) wide as a door —Jessamyn West
- A youngish plump little body, rather like a pigeon —Katherine Mansfield
The following words can all be used to describe someone who has a lot of flesh on their body:
Big, broad, bulky, chunky, corpulent, fleshy, heavy, heavyset, plump, stocky, stout, and thick-set are fairly neutral words.
You use big to describe someone who is tall and has quite a lot of flesh.
You use stocky to describe someone who is fairly short and has quite a lot of flesh.
Beefy, buxom, chubby, cuddly, portly, solid, tubby, and well-built are words that you use when you like the person you are describing and think their shape is quite attractive. Beefy, cuddly, and tubby are used in conversation.
Buxom is used only to describe women.
Chubby is used mainly of babies and children. Portly is used mainly of people who are middle-aged and rather dignified.
Dumpy, fat, flabby, gross, obese, overweight, podgy, pudgy, and squat are considered impolite and should not be used when speaking to the person you are describing, or to someone who knows and likes them.
Obese and overweight are also used in more technical contexts.
People who are dumpy or squat are both short and fat.
Wide is used to describe things, not people.
However, it can be used to describe parts of the body.
|Noun||1.||fatness - excess bodily weight; "she disliked fatness in herself as well as in others"|
bodily property - an attribute of the body
adiposeness, adiposity, fattiness - having the property of containing fat; "he recommended exercise to reduce my adiposity"
steatopygia - an extreme accumulation of fat on the buttocks