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Beauty contest

a competition in which the entrants, usually women, are judged as to physical beauty and sometimes personality and talent, with the winners awarded prizes or titles.
Informal. any contest, election, etc., that is decided on the basis of popularity.
Contemporary Examples

The Huffington Post featuring a video of the swimsuit competition from a beauty contest from the 1980s.
Piling on Palin, Hating on Hillary Caroline Heldman November 29, 2008

Most politicians would be satisfied with finishing second to Rand Paul in beauty contest notoriously dominated by libertarians.
Ted Cruz Is The Star Of CPAC Ben Jacobs March 7, 2014

Rick Santorum’s impressive victory in the nonbinding Missouri “beauty contest” began an ugly night for Romney.
Daily Beast Contributors on Rick Santorum’s Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado Wins February 7, 2012

Historical Examples

She made us promise not to tell it right after the beauty contest.
Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore Pauline Lester

Certainly none of them would have taken a prize in a beauty contest.
The Young Treasure Hunter Frank V. Webster

The beauty contest was an awful damper to them, especially Miss Weyman.
Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore Pauline Lester

The others began chorusing their congratulations at once, looking no more convincing than the runners-up in any beauty contest.
Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett

Well, if this is a beauty contest, I hope the judges wont be partial.
Marjorie Dean College Freshman Pauline Lester

She never will forgive that moon-eyed Miss Dean for putting it over her at the beauty contest.
Marjorie Dean College Freshman Pauline Lester

a competition in which the participants, usually women, are judged on their attractiveness, with a prize, and often a title, awarded to the winner
(informal) any contest decided on the basis of superficial attractiveness, popularity, etc: the referendum might turn into a party political beauty contest

noun phrase

A canvass or occasion that reveals preference, without the force of an election: the mini-convention billed as a beauty contest for those seeking the presidential nomination/ Today’s primary is considered a beauty contest because no delegates to the convention will actually be chosen (1960s+)


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  • Beauty mark

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  • Beauty pageant

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  • Beauty parlor

    an establishment for the hairdressing, manicuring, or other cosmetic treatment of women. Contemporary Examples The amenities include a fitness room, a sauna, a beauty parlor, and a karaoke setup. Inside the ‘Surprisingly Great’ North Korean Hacker Hotel Michael Daly December 19, 2014 Earlier that month, Haughton drove to the suburban-Milwaukee beauty parlor where his wife […]

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