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a. The ester of glycerol and one, two, or three fatty acids.
b. Any of various soft, solid, or semisolid organic compounds constituting the esters of glycerol and fatty acids and their associated organic groups.
c. A mixture of such compounds occurring widely in organic tissue, especially in the adipose tissue of animals and in the seeds, nuts, and fruits of plants.
d. Animal tissue containing such substances.
e. A solidified animal or vegetable oil.
2. Obesity; corpulence: health risks associated with fat.
3. Unnecessary excess: "would drain the appropriation's fat without cutting into education's muscle" (New York Times).
adj. fat·ter, fat·test
1. Having much or too much fat or flesh; plump or obese.
2. Full of fat or oil; greasy.
3. Abounding in desirable elements: a paycheck fat with bonus money.
4. Fertile or productive; rich: "It was a fine, green, fat landscape" (Robert Louis Stevenson).
5. Having an abundance or amplitude; well-stocked: a fat larder.
a. Yielding profit or plenty; lucrative or rewarding: a fat promotion.
b. Prosperous; wealthy: grew fat on illegal profits.
a. Thick; large: a fat book.
b. Puffed up; swollen: a fat lip.
tr. & intr.v. fat·ted, fat·ting, fats
To make or become fat; fatten.
a fat lot Slang
Very little or none at all: a fat lot of good it will do him.
fat chance Slang
Very little or no chance.
the fat is in the fire
Bad consequences are sure to follow; trouble lies ahead.
the fat of the land
Desirable resources, especially when acquired with little effort: I fantasized about buying a farm and living off the fat of the land.

[Middle English, from Old English fǣtt, fatted; see peiə- in Indo-European roots.]

fat′ly adv.
fat′ness n.
Synonyms: fat, overweight, obese, corpulent, portly, stout, pudgy, rotund, plump1, chubby
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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




  1. 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.

  2. Body … encased in fat, like an insulated boiler —A. Alvarez
  3. Body plump as a church rat’s —Honoré de Balzac
  4. Broad as a barn door —John Heywood’s Proverbs

    A shorter, modern version: “Broad as a door.”

  5. (At the hips … she was) broad as a sofa —Saul Bellow
  6. Corpulent as a fire plug —Samuel Shem Fine
  7. Fat and sleek: a dumpling —D. H. Lawrence
  8. Fat as a balloon —Mark Twain
  9. Fat as a duck —John Adams

    The man Adams compared to a duck was Aaron Burr.

  10. Fat as a fool —John Lyly
  11. Fat as an owl —Miles Gibson
  12. 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.

  13. (I shall grow) fat as a porpoise —Jonathan Swift
  14. Fat as a whale —Geoffrey Chaucer
  15. Fat as butter —William Shakespeare

    A variation which has become an American colloquialism is “Fat as a butter-ball.”

  16. Fat as plenty —Hugh Ward
  17. The fat on her was like loose-powdered dough —Carson McCullers
  18. 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
  19. (He was) fattening like a Christmas goose —Calder Willingham
  20. Grew fat as a broiler —Kate Wheeler
  21. He was fat, with a belly creased like a roll when he bent over —John Gunther
  22. His stomach swells like a big cake baking —Carolyn Chute
  23. I was square and looked like a refrigerator approaching —Jean Kerr

    Kerr likened herself to a refrigerator when she was pregnant.

  24. Pudgy as a baby’s hand —Jonathan Valin
  25. Plump as an abbot —Robert Traver
  26. Plump as a partridge —John Ray’s Proverbs
  27. She was round and plump as her favorite teapot —Peter De Vries
  28. Stout as a stump —James Crumley
  29. (Piglets) stout as jugs —W. D. Snodgrass
  30. (A short man) wide as a door —Jessamyn West
  31. A youngish plump little body, rather like a pigeon —Katherine Mansfield
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The following words can all be used to describe someone who has a lot of flesh on their body:

heavyset (Am)obeseoverweightplumppodgy
1. neutral words

Big, broad, bulky, chunky, corpulent, fleshy, heavy, heavyset, plump, stocky, stout, and thick-set are fairly neutral words.

How tall was he? Thin or heavyset?
Stout prosperous men converged on the hotel.
...the portrait of a plump, dark girl, the Colonel's daughter.
2. 'big' and 'stocky'

You use big to describe someone who is tall and has quite a lot of flesh.

Zabeth was a big woman with a dark complexion.

You use stocky to describe someone who is fairly short and has quite a lot of flesh.

His friend was a stocky, bald man in his late forties.
3. polite words

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.

His relatives were all solid, well-built people with dark or gray curly hair.

Buxom is used only to describe women.

...the buxom ladies in Rubens' paintings.

Chubby is used mainly of babies and children. Portly is used mainly of people who are middle-aged and rather dignified.

Janice was a chubby child but she really started to pile on weight at 12.
...a portly gentleman in his late fifties.
4. 4 impolite words

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.

He'll get fat, the way he eats.
He doesn't do anything physical. So he must be flabby and unfit.
Laura was hugely overweight.

Obese and overweight are also used in more technical contexts.

Really obese children tend to grow up into obese men and women.
Overweight people run a slightly higher risk of cancer than people of average weight.

People who are dumpy or squat are both short and fat.

She was a little woman, and would probably, one day, be a dumpy one.

Be Careful!
Wide is used to describe things, not people.

...the wide staircase leading down to the hall.

Be Careful!
However, it can be used to describe parts of the body.

Her features were coarse -- a wide forehead, a large nose, prominent cheekbones.
She had a wide mouth that smiled a great deal.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.fatness - excess bodily weightfatness - 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"
abdominousness, paunchiness - the bodily property of a protruding belly
greasiness, oiliness, oleaginousness - consisting of or covered with oil
corpulency, fleshiness - more than average fatness
steatopygia - an extreme accumulation of fat on the buttocks
leanness, spareness, thinness - the property of having little body fat
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


noun obesity, corpulence, podginess, flab, size, weight, beef (informal), flesh, overweight, girth, weight problem, heaviness, grossness, embonpoint (French), rotundity, fleshiness, stoutness, bulkiness Body weight alone says little about body fatness.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
gildleiki, feitlagni


[ˈfætnɪs] N [of person] → gordura f; [of meat] → grasa f; [of book] → grosor m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈfætnɪs] n (= overweight) → corpulence f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= overweight)Dicke f, → Fettheit f (pej)
(= thickness, of book, pile, wad) → Dicke f, → Umfang m; (fig inf, of wallet, chequebook) → Dicke f; (of profit, fee, salary)Üppigkeit f, → Fettheit f (inf)
(fig, of land) → Fruchtbarkeit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈfætnɪs] ngrassezza
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(fӕt) noun
1. an oily substance made by the bodies of animals and by some plants. This meat has got a lot of fat on it.
2. a kind of such substance, used especially for cooking. There are several good cooking fats on the market.
1. having a lot of fat on one's body; large, heavy and round in shape. He was a very fat child.
2. large or abundant. Her business made a fat profit; A fat lot of good that is! (= That is no good at all)
ˈfatness noun
ˈfatten verb
(often with up) to make or become fat. They are fattening up a turkey to eat at Christmas.
ˈfatty adjective
containing, or like, fat. This meat is very fatty.
ˈfattiness noun
ˈfat-head noun
a stupid person.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


n. gordura.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
In the face of that perfect skin, his very fatness and mature, rotund paunch could be nothing other than normal.
I pray you let the drama halt while Chorus stalks to the footlights and drops an epicedian tear upon the fatness of Mr.
"His Exalted Fatness" (this was one of Uggug's many titles) "tells me he has just seen, in this very room, a Dancing-Bear and a Court-Jester!"
The Friar has walk'd out, and where'er he has gone, The land and its fatness is mark'd for his own; He can roam where he lists, he can stop when he tires, For every man's house is the Barefooted Friar's.
Amid the oozing fatness and warm ferments of the Froom Vale, at a season when the rush of juices could almost be heard below the hiss of fertilization, it was impossible that the most fanciful love should not grow passionate.
And of his fatness it would seem had been begotten his good nature with its allied laziness.
Ain't he fit to bust out of his clothes, and start the seams, and make the very buttons fly off with his fatness? Here's flesh!' cried Squeers, turning the boy about, and indenting the plumpest parts of his figure with divers pokes and punches, to the great discomposure of his son and heir.
Mingling their mumblings with his own mastications, thousands on thousands of sharks, swarming round the dead leviathan, smackingly feasted on its fatness. The few sleepers below in their bunks were often startled by the sharp slapping of their tails against the hull, within a few inches of the sleepers' hearts.
One morning in early autumn when the leaves were beginning to turn gold at the edges, the chestnut-pods to swell with promise of fatness, and the whole wide woodland was redolent with the ripe fragrance of fruit and flower, Robin was walking along the edge of a small open glade busy with his thoughts.
"And now I have received an explanation of how it is that doorways are made too narrow, let us return to the subject of Mouston's fatness. But see how the two things apply to each other.
"But, good master, I thought that thou didst love a merry story, because thou hast so often made a jest about a certain increase of fatness on my joints, of flesh gathered by my abiding with the Sheriff of--"
Not my or thy great-grandfather's, but our great-grandmother Nature's universal, vegetable, botanic medicines, by which she has kept herself young always, outlived so many old Parrs in her day, and fed her health with their decaying fatness. For my panacea, instead of one of those quack vials of a mixture dipped from Acheron and the Dead Sea, which come out of those long shallow black-schooner looking wagons which we sometimes see made to carry bottles, let me have a draught of undiluted morning air.