Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Great physical beauty and appeal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Beauty; comeliness; handsomeness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun That quality of appearance which pleases the eye; beauty; comeliness; grace; loveliness.
  • noun Attractive moral excellence; moral beauty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Physical beauty.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun physical beauty (especially of a woman)

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English pulcritude, from Latin pulchritūdō, from pulcher, pulchr-, beautiful.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English pulcritude, from Latin pulchritūdō, from pulcher ("beautiful").

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Examples

  • Every day for 40 years, more than half-a-million viewers could look up and bask in these colossal testaments to American plenty and pulchritude.

    Kodak's Grand Central Moments

  • From his creation of the Follies that bore his name and reflected his twin passions for female pulchritude and spectacular stagecraft to his swan song as producer of the first great modern musical, Show Boat, Ziegfeld transformed burlesque into a new kind of American musical theater.

    Cover to Cover

  • Add to that the friendliness (and pulchritude) of Brasileiras, especially towards American men (sorry ladies -- but hey, I hear China has a serious boy surplus), and you've got yourself an excellent case for falar português.

    Dr. Ali Binazir: The Best Languages to Learn in College

  • What splendor and pulchritude, what symmetry in all things, what assets for the necessities of life have you not granted and assigned to this land and its inhabitants!

    Brotherhood of the Butterfly Net

  • Add to that the friendliness (and pulchritude) of Brasileiras, especially towards American men (sorry ladies -- but hey, I hear China has a serious boy surplus), and you've got yourself an excellent case for falar português.

    Dr. Ali Binazir: The Best Languages to Learn in College

  • Add to that the friendliness (and pulchritude) of Brasileiras, especially towards American men (sorry ladies -- but hey, I hear China has a serious boy surplus), and you've got yourself an excellent case for falar português.

    Dr. Ali Binazir: The Best Languages to Learn in College

  • In addition to being known as a connoisseur of pulchritude, Hughes had a reputation as an inventor, and was said to have designed a special bra to make even more of Ms. Russell's appearance.

    Jane Russell, film siren who sizzled on-screen in 'The Outlaw,' dies at 89

  • If we don't allow people to hug our Republicans without a legitimate reason, it's for reasons of sustainability, not necessarily a lack of pulchritude.

    Entering Massachusetts: Please Don't Hug the Republicans

  • Bride's family has a rich friend in Cannes that delights in taking us to one of those places on the Cannes beach where you lounge away trying to avoid noticing the pulchritude from behind your Foster Grants and in fear of slightly moving your hand because it results in a waiter suddenly appearing with an adult beverage just like the last one you ordered.

    On Life and Wealth

  • A glance through the 1971 album shows a variety of other pulchritude-reduction methods in operation.

    The day video almost killed the Subbuteo star | Harry Pearson

Comments

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  • Such an ugly word for beauty.

    December 6, 2006

  • Pulchritude. From the Latin, pulcher, beautiful. That was the word that first struck Joyce when Millat Iqbal stepped forward onto the steps of her conservatory...

    Pulchritude-- beauty where you would least suspect it, hidden in a word that looked like it should signify a belch or a skin infection. Beauty in a tall brown young man who should have been indistinguishable to Joyce from those she regularly bought milk and bread from, gave her accounts to for inspection, or passed her checkbook to behind the thick glass of a bank till.

    September 15, 2007

  • I have to agree with snowswim. It's a candidate for the word that sounds least like its meaning. (Is there a word for that?)

    November 20, 2007

  • I use this word a lot. Nobody seems to know that it means I'm leering at that jogger passing my car at the red light...

    November 20, 2007

  • I like it, too. It does come in handy on occasion, as you so vividly point out, c_b. :-)

    November 20, 2007

  • I once started a list on that very topic, Asativum. I'll see if I can revive it a bit with this word.

    November 21, 2007

  • Asativum: how about antiaurosemantonym?

    February 9, 2008

  • Somehow I missed this. Antiaurosemantonym is luverly!

    April 22, 2008

  • I can hardly wait for Problem Sleuth to unleash his mighty Pulchritude attack.

    November 23, 2008

  • Pulcher? I hardly know'er!

    April 16, 2009

  • Philip Wells waxes articulate about his dislike of this word (The Guardian, July 7, 2009)

    "it violates all the magical impulses of balanced onomatopoeic language - it of course means "beautiful", but its meaning is nothing of the sort, being stuffed to the brim with a brutally latinate cudgel of barbaric consonants. If consonants represent riverbanks and vowels the river's flow, this is the word equivalent of the bottomless abyss of dry bones, where demons gather to spit acid."

    July 7, 2009

  • Didn't W.C. Fields use this word (to describe Mae West?) in one of his movies?

    July 18, 2009

  • This showed up on a GRE question today, and as skipvia's list augured, I got it dead wrong. Ah well.

    August 18, 2009

  • When a word appears on this many lists, the current Wordie format is close to unworkable. I've scrolled up and down the list to the right three times and still haven't spotted which of skip's lists this word appears in.

    August 18, 2009

  • Ctrl-F skipvia; or Sounds One Way, Means Another

    August 18, 2009

  • Yeah, thanks sob. If you do a page search on a username it also finds them in the comments ... and some of us diehards can have plenty of comments on a given page *sigh* I'm just having a whinge.

    August 18, 2009

  • Then just look for "by skipvia".

    August 18, 2009

  • This seems like an unattractive word, in contrast to what it means. I first heard this word in the lyrics to "Popsicle Toes" from Michael Franks' 1975 album, The Art of Tea. He rhymed it thusly:


    You must have been Miss Pennsylvania
    With all this pulchritude.
    How come you always load your Pentax
    When I'm in the nude?

    January 12, 2011

  • caconym

    June 3, 2011

  • Save the world from evil GREs.

    August 6, 2012

  • Is there are word meaning a word that means the opposite of what it sounds like it means? Because I would've thought "pulchritude" would mean "ugliness"

    April 16, 2015