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Okimuy
Do you use this word, "handsome" for women even now? I thought "handsome" is used only for men, but in the movie "Pride and Prejudice" I saw the other day, the word was used for a girl. Is it because the story was from 18th centuries or still used for women as the meaning of "attractive" or anything else?
Oct 1, 2016 1:17 PM
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Answers · 16
Yes, it is. Nowadays, because the word is so often used to describe men, when it is applied to women it carries the idea of beauty that is unconventional, less sexualized, stronger and more rugged, than the ideal of young female beauty. I don't know if this comparison works cross-culturally, but compare the movie across Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie. To U.S. eyes anyway, Jolie is a traditional female beauty, a sex goddess. Meryl Streep is certainly beautiful, but not in a sex-goddess or idealized way. Streep is certainly not at all masculine in appearance. She really looks quite unique and doesn't fit any category. She is a woman who might well be called "handsome."
October 1, 2016
Yes, you can use the adjective handsome for women. While handsome is more often used for men, women can also be called handsome. When a woman is described as handsome, it suggests that she is very good-looking, and also healthy and strong. Handsome is less likely to be used to describe a woman who is petite or delicate.
October 1, 2016
I've used handsome for older women before. The definitions on the internet say handsome for women suggests good-looking and healthy. Pretty suggests a woman more delicate-looking. That said I probably wouldn't use handsome for a younger woman.
October 1, 2016
This was a compliment for women through maybe the early 20th century. You shouldn't use it now. I haven't heard it in many, many years. I heard it applied to older good-looking women. Barbara Stanwyck, in her later years, comes to mind as a handsome woman. Let's see what the women have to say about it.
October 1, 2016
I'm not an English speaker but I think this is fine. Handsome means good-looking, so it's alright when using the word for women. By the way, is the movie good, is that the one stared Kiera Knightley, I intended but hesitated to watch it :)
October 1, 2016
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Okimuy
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