Check out our updated Community
Can we use the word "voluptuous" to describe a man?  Can  we  say  that  a  man  is voluptuous?   Does  a  man  feel  happy  or  offensive  to  be described as  a voluptuous man?
Sep 1, 2016 6:09 AM
Comments · 9
Voluptuous means a woman has a curvy, beautiful body. She has an "hourglass figure" (big chest, skinny waist, big bottom). I have never heard anyone ever call a man "voluptuous". I think a man would want to be called "muscular" or "buff" or something.
September 1, 2016

No. It's an example of sexism built into the English language. The word "voluptuous" has several meanings, one meaning "related to sensual pleasure." However, when describing a person, it is applied only to women. It is a synonym of "curvaceous." "Curvaceous" means "having big breasts and buttocks," so that seen in silhouette from the side--when casting a shadow, for example--the outline of the body is curvier rather than straighter.

There is a fairly rare and outdated word, "a voluptuary," meaning a person whose life is devoted to sensual pleasures. A man can be "a voluptuary." In theory, a woman can be, but, in fact--sexism again--the word would much more likely refer to a man than to a woman. 

"Sensuous" can apply to either a woman or a man, and can mean either someone who enjoys sensual pleasure or someone who is attractive in a sexual way. 

I don't know of any ordinary, standard English word that can apply to a man and corresponds to "voluptuous" in a woman.

September 1, 2016
September 1, 2016

As has already been commented, it's most commonly used to describe a woman, particularly regarding the chest. I have used it to describe male friends before, but that's usually been in a joking fashion. No one I know would be personally offended if you were to call them 'voluptuous,' but I think it sounds a bit strange when referring to a man. More suitable words in my opinion would be: stocky, well-built, or, depending on how well you know him, you could use 'curvy' (although 'curvy,' like 'voluptuous,' is somewhat feminine). Of course, talking about someone's weight is always a bit of an awkward topic, so you may want to avoid being too direct if they're sensitive about it! 

September 1, 2016

English is not my mother tongue, so I could be corrected.

I think you shouldn't refer to a man as voluptuous in common Language, although, yes, you could do it. Voluptuous doesn't really mean buxom or something like that, it derives from voluptas, a voluptuous thing/person is something/someone that gives sensual pleasure. So a voluptuous woman is curvy. You can also say "a voluptuous life", "a voluptuous desire" etc. Anyway, as I said, you don't hear "a voluptuous man" in common Language, even if it's not wrong. Maybe you can use it in some kind of poem...

September 1, 2016
Show More
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language