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[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.
Origin of handsome
1350-1400; Middle English handsom easy to handle (see hand, -some1); cognate with Dutch handzaam tractable
Related forms
handsomeish, adjective
handsomeness, noun
superhandsome, adjective
1. See beautiful. 4. large, generous, munificent.
1. ugly. 4, 5. small, miserly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for handsomest
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then demand that the twenty handsomest young men should be chosen, and finely dressed, and put one in each shop as salesman.

    Serbian Folk-lore Anonymous
  • The Russian shoulder-knots of twisted gold were of the handsomest make.

    Waring's Peril Charles King
  • In a word, this is the finest, most capable, handsomest small camera you ever saw—a marvel of compactness and efficiency.

    Premo Cameras, 1914. Canadian Kodak Company
  • She was the handsomest woman there, and she never took her eyes off me.

  • He thought him easily the handsomest and best-dressed man on Broadway.

    The Imported Bridegroom Abraham Cahan
  • The Hurlburt, the largest and handsomest, was absolutely obliterated.

    The Johnstown Horror James Herbert Walker
  • The plate too of Queen Anne's reign is justly esteemed as the handsomest and richest that can be found.

  • The handsomest and most instructive volume of the series yet produced.

    Historic Boys Elbridge Streeter Brooks
British Dictionary definitions for handsomest


(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
Derived Forms
handsomely, adverb
handsomeness, noun
Word Origin
C15: handsom easily handled; compare Dutch handzaam; see hand, -some1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for handsomest



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for handsomest


Related Terms

high* wide* and handsome

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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