Can a woman be called ‘handsome’?

Yes, the word can be used with women as well. When you call a woman handsome, you are not making fun of her; you are, in fact, paying her a compliment. What you mean is that she is very attractive. Unlike a woman who is ‘pretty’, a handsome one is not built along very delicate lines. She is somewhat big built and her features are usually large and there is something about her which suggests strength of character. She has a strong dignified appearance. The word is only used with women and not with young girls.

*Revathi is an extremely handsome woman with a very sharp mind.

The word can also be used to refer to objects, such as gardens and buildings. For example, when you say that a building is handsome, what you mean is that it is large and attractive in an impressive sort of way.

 Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) – November 27, 2007




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