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the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
a beautiful person, especially a woman.
a beautiful thing, as a work of art or a building.
Often, beauties. something that is beautiful in nature or in some natural or artificial environment.
an individually pleasing or beautiful quality; grace; charm:
a vivid blue area that is the one real beauty of the painting.
Informal. a particular advantage:
One of the beauties of this medicine is the freedom from aftereffects.
(usually used ironically) something extraordinary:
My sunburn was a real beauty.
something excellent of its kind:
My old car was a beauty.
Contemporary Examples

And the mirror replied: “You, my queen, may have a beauty quite rare, but Little Snow White is a thousand times more fair.”
In New Brothers Grimm ‘Snow White’, The Prince Doesn’t Save Her The Brothers Grimm November 29, 2014

It makes a beautifully lucid case for politics as the antithesis of beauty in human life.
Great Weekend Reads: December 30, 2011 Jacob Silverman, Michael Thomsen, Lauren Elkin December 29, 2011

After all, beauty contests are not widely regarded as templates of enlightenment.
Bikini Diplomacy Tunku Varadarajan May 17, 2010

After all, this is the supermodel known as much for her beauty as for mobile-phone assaults on her staff.
Courthouse Couture Jacob Bernstein August 7, 2010

Another interesting issue deals with certain cultures’ perception of beauty.
Vanessa Williams, the First Black Miss America, On Nina Davuluri and Racism Marlow Stern September 20, 2013

Historical Examples

What talk from you—you, with your beauty and talent, and money—good heavens!
Jennie Gerhardt Theodore Dreiser

This boasted power of intellect—this giddy triumph of beauty—what do they do for you?
Philothea Lydia Maria Child

Pray you, do not think me Unworthy of your ear: it was your beauty That turn’d me statue.
The Plays of Philip Massinger Philip Massinger

Let young men hear the praise of virtue from the lips of beauty.
Philothea Lydia Maria Child

He was aware of the strength and beauty and godlikeness that his breast was then to her—the magic.
Aaron’s Rod D. H. Lawrence

noun (pl) -ties
the combination of all the qualities of a person or thing that delight the senses and please the mind
a very attractive and well-formed girl or woman
(informal) an outstanding example of its kind: the horse is a beauty
(informal) an advantageous feature: one beauty of the job is the short hours
(informal, old-fashioned) a light-hearted and affectionate term of address: hello, my old beauty!
(NZ) (ˈbjuːdɪ). an expression of approval or agreement Also (Scot, Austral, and NZ) you beauty

early 14c., “physical attractiveness,” also “goodness, courtesy,” from Anglo-French beute, Old French biauté “beauty, seductiveness, beautiful person” (12c., Modern French beauté), earlier beltet, from Vulgar Latin bellitatem (nominative bellitas) “state of being handsome,” from Latin bellus “pretty, handsome, charming,” in classical Latin used especially of women and children, or ironically or insultingly of men, perhaps from PIE *dw-en-elo-, diminutive of root *deu- “to do, perform, show favor, revere” (see bene-). Famously defined by Stendhal as la promesse de bonheur “the promise of happiness.”

[I]t takes the one hundred men in ten million who understand beauty, which isn’t imitation or an improvement on the beautiful as already understood by the common herd, twenty or thirty years to convince the twenty thousand next most sensitive souls after their own that this new beauty is truly beautiful. [Stendhal, “Life of Henry Brulard”]

Replaced Old English wlite. Concrete meaning “a beautiful woman” is first recorded late 14c. Beauty sleep “sleep before midnight” is attested by 1850. Beauty spot is from 1650s. Beauty parlor is from 1894.

The sudden death of a young woman a little over a week ago in a down-town “beauty parlor” has served to direct public attention to those institutions and their methods. In this case, it seems, the operator painted on or injected into the patron’s facial blemish a 4-per-cent cocaine solution and then applied an electrode, the sponge of which was saturated with carbolized water. [“The Western Druggist,” October 1894]

Beauté du diable (literally “devil’s beauty”) is used as a French phrase in English from 1825.


Excellent; superior; great: I thought the guy was beauty (1970s+ Canadian)
In addition to the idiom beginning with beauty


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