[han-suh m] /ˈhæn səm/

adjective, handsomer, handsomest.
having an attractive, well-proportioned, and imposing appearance suggestive of health and strength; good-looking:
a handsome man; a handsome woman.
having pleasing proportions, relationships, or arrangements, as of shapes, forms, or colors; attractive:
a handsome house; a handsome interior.
exhibiting skill, taste, and refinement; well-made:
a handsome story; handsome furniture.
considerable, ample, or liberal in amount:
a handsome fortune.
gracious; generous; flattering:
a handsome compliment; a handsome recommendation.
adroit and appealing; graceful:
a handsome speech.
(of a man) good-looking, esp in having regular, pleasing, and well-defined features
(of a woman) fine-looking in a dignified way
well-proportioned, stately, or comely: a handsome room
liberal or ample: a handsome allowance
gracious or generous: a handsome action
(Southwest English) pleasant: handsome weather
(Southwest English) a term of endearment for a beloved person, esp in my handsome

c.1400, handsom “easy to handle, ready at hand,” from hand (n.) + -some (1). Sense extended to “fair size, considerable” (1570s), then “having fine form, good-looking” (1580s). Meaning “generous” (in handsome reward, etc.) first recorded 1680s.

[Americans] use the word “handsome” much more extensively than we do: saying that Webster made a handsome speech in the Senate: that a lady talks handsomely, (eloquently:) that a book sells handsomely. A gentleman asked me on the Catskill Mountain, whether I thought the sun handsomer there than at New York. [Harriet Martineau, “Society in America,” 1837]

Related: Handsomeness.

Related Terms

high* wide* and handsome


Read Also:

  • Handsome is as handsome does

    How one acts is more important than how one looks. For example, He may be homely, but he’s the kindest man I’ve ever met—handsome is as handsome does. This expression already appeared in John Ray’s 1670 collection of proverbs.

  • Handsomely

    [han-suh m-lee] /ˈhæn səm li/ adverb 1. in a manner; pleasingly; successfully. adv. 1540s, “conveniently,” from handsome + -ly (2). Meaning “attractively” is from 1610s; “liberally” from 1735.

  • Hand someone a lemon

    verb phrase To take advantage of; cheat; gyp: if they hand me a lemon (1860s+)

  • Hand someone his head

    verb phrase To destroy; figuratively to decapitate someone and hand him his own head; clobber: Do what they want, or they’ll hand you your head/ when the press is handing Francis Coppola his head (1970s+)

Disclaimer: Handsome definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.