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

  • n. Great physical beauty and appeal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Physical beauty.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Beauty; comeliness; handsomeness.

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

  • n. physical beauty (especially of a woman)


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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  • 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

  • Save the world from evil GREs.

    August 6, 2012

  • caconym

    June 3, 2011

  • 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

  • Then just look for "by skipvia".

    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

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

    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

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

    August 18, 2009

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

    July 18, 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

  • Pulcher? I hardly know'er!

    April 16, 2009

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

    November 23, 2008

  • Somehow I missed this. Antiaurosemantonym is luverly!

    April 22, 2008

  • Asativum: how about antiaurosemantonym?

    February 9, 2008

  • 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

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

    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 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

  • 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

  • Such an ugly word for beauty.

    December 6, 2006