Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Origin: handsome 'easy to handle' (15-17 centuries), from hand

handsome

adjective
     
hand‧some
1
a) a man who is handsome looks attractive [= good-looking]:
an extremely handsome young man
his handsome face
see usage note beautiful
b) a woman who is handsome looks attractive in a strong healthy way
2 an animal, object, or building that is handsome looks attractive in an impressive way:
a row of handsome Georgian houses
3 [only before noun] a handsome amount of money is large:
He managed to make a handsome profit out of the deal.
a handsome fee
4 [only before noun] a handsome gift or prize is worth a lot of money:
There are some handsome prizes to be won.
5 [only before noun] a handsome victory is important and impressive:
They won a handsome victory in the elections.
handsomely adverb:
He was handsomely rewarded by the king.
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

beautiful, pretty, handsome, good-looking, attractive, gorgeous, stunning
beautiful is used to describe someone, usually a woman or child, who is attractive in a very special and noticeable way.pretty is usually used to describe a girl or woman who is good-looking, with regular features. It can also be used to describe a boy or young man who has an attractive but feminine face.handsome is usually used to describe a man or boy who is good-looking, with strong regular features. It can also be used to describe a woman, usually an older woman, who has attractive but masculine features.good-looking can be used to describe anyone who you think is nice to look at. attractive is used to describe someone who looks good in a way that attracts sexual interest I can see he's handsome, but I don't find him very attractive.gorgeous and stunning are emphatic ways of saying that someone is very attractive. Gorgeous is used mostly in spoken English. See also beautiful

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