Words Describing Physical Appearance

English Vocabulary List (Illustrated)

Words describing physical appearance can be divided into several categories, including beauty, age, build, and hair. ("Build" means the physical structure of someone's body)
Words Describing Physical Appearance

In this lesson, we will go over these different categories and look at many useful examples. After that, we will use a fun story dialogue to illustrate how to use the words from the lesson in context.
Some people might say that certain words sound more positive, while others have a negative connotation. ("Connotation" means the emotions or ideas that a word suggests.)

For example, "thin" could be seen as positive because it suggests someone is in good shape. On the other hand, "skinny" might have a negative connotation because it implies someone is too thin and might be unhealthy.

Another example is "fat", which might be seen as negative, while "overweight" is seen as more neutral. "Obese" is generally seen as negative because it is a medical term used to describe someone who is very overweight and at risk for health problems. On the other hand, "chubby" is often seen as positive because it is a cute way to describe someone who is a little overweight.
It is important to remember that everyone is different and will have different reactions to these words. Polite, respectful language is always the best choice.

Words to Describe Someone's Physical Appearance


Adorable: very cute.
adorable meaning

Example Sentences:

  • A lot of people think babies are adorable.
  • My grandpa is always telling me how adorable I was as a child.
  • Your little sister is adorable when she is sleeping peacefully with her teddy bear.

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Athletic: strong, fast, and good at sports.


athletic meaning

Example Sentences:

  • My dad was always very athletic when he was younger.
  • You have so much energy. You must be very athletic!
  • I'm not very athletic, so I get tired easily when I go running.

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Attractive: pleasing to look at. This can be because the person is physically good-looking, or because they have a pleasant personality. For example, someone might have kind eyes and a warm smile, which makes them attractive.
attractive meaning

Example Sentences:

  • I think John is quite attractive. I would like to get to know him better.
  • She is not just beautiful on the outside, she is also got a great personality, so she is very attractive.
  • I don't think he is particularly attractive, but some people might see him differently.

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Bald: without hair on the head.
Bald

Example Sentences:

  • My uncle is bald, so he always wears a hat when he goes outside.
  • I'm starting to get a little bald on top.
  • Tony became bald after he got sick.

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Bearded: with a beard. A "beard" is the hair that grows on a man's cheeks and chin. It can be long or short.

Bearded

Example Sentences:

  • All the men in my family were bearded until my grandfather shaved his beard off.
  • Santa Claus is usually bearded in paintings and movies.
  • A gray-bearded man was sitting on a bench in the park.

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Beautiful: very pleasant to look at. This can be because they have features that are traditionally considered attractive, such as symmetrical features or bright (shining) eyes. It can also be because they take care of themselves and present themselves in a way that is pleasing to others.
Beautiful

Example Sentences:

  • Susan never felt beautiful, but everyone who knew her thought she was stunning.
  • I think you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
  • She looked more beautiful without her heavy makeup.

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Blond (for males) / Blonde (for females): having yellowish hair.
Blond (for males) / Blonde (for females)

Example Sentences:

  • My sister is a natural blonde, but she dyes her hair black.  
  • He is a tall, handsome blond man.
  • Some of the girls in my class are blonde.

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Brunette (of a woman or girl): having dark brown hair.
Brunette

Example Sentences:

  • I've always wanted to be a brunette, but my mom says it wouldn't suit me.
  • Most of the women in my family are brunettes.
  • Green eyes and brunette hair is my favorite combination.

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Chubby: a little bit overweight. For example, if you are chubby, you might have some extra fat around your belly, thighs, or face.

Chubby

Example Sentences:

  • I was always the chubby one in my family.
  • My face looks a little chubby in this photo.
  • I'm trying to lose some weight. I don't want to look chubby in my wedding dress.

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Clean-shaven (of men): without any hair on the face. When a man shaves his face, he is taking off all of the hair on his cheeks, chin, and above his upper lip. This leaves his skin smooth and clean. If a man shaves his mustache or beard, he would be considered clean-shaven.

Clean-shaven

Example Sentences:

  • She prefers clean-shaven men. She does not like mustaches or beards.
  • Steve used to have a beard, but he shaved it off last week. Now he is clean-shaven.
  • I can't grow a beard, so I'm always clean-shaven.

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Curly: having curls, or spiral-shaped hair. Some people have curly hair. This means that their hair is not straight, but instead it has bends and curves. Some people's hair is only a little bit curly, while other people have very curly hair.

Curly

Example Sentences:

  • I love your curly hair! It is so beautiful.
  • I wish I had curly hair. My hair is so straight and boring.
  • Julie has very curly hair. She has to use a special brush to comb it.

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Cute: attractive in a delicate or childlike way. You might say that a baby is cute, or you might say that someone has a cute smile. When we say someone is cute, we usually mean that they are not just physically attractive, but also pleasant and likable (easy to like).

Cute

Example Sentences:

  • Your baby is so cute! I want to pick her up and hug him.
  • His little sister is very cute. She looks just like him.
  • The cute kitten was playful and friendly.

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Dark-haired: having hair that is not blond or light-colored. A person with dark hair has black hair, brown hair, or hair with some other dark color.

Dark-haired

Example Sentences:

  • Most of the people in my family are dark-haired.
  • The dark-haired girl was sitting in the front row.
  • My husband is the dark-haired man on the left.

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Elderly: a polite way to say "old". When we say someone is elderly, we usually mean that they are in their 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s. This word has a more positive connotation (feeling) than the word "old".

Elderly

Example Sentences:

  • The elderly woman was walking slowly and using a cane.
  • I live in a retirement home for the elderly.
  • He may be elderly, but he is still very active. He goes for long walks every day.

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Elegant: looking and moving in a beautiful way. This means that they look and act in a way that is gentle, attractive, and fashionable. Imagine a princess in a beautiful dress with perfect manners.

Elegant

Example Sentences:

  • The dress was very elegant. It was simple, but it looked amazing on her.
  • He is an elegant man. He looks so stylish and he has perfect manners.
  • Janet is always so elegant. She always looks perfect, even when she's just going to the grocery store.

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Fat: overweight. When we say someone is fat, we usually mean that they are not just a little bit overweight, but they are quite overweight. This word is often considered to be negative or impolite.

Fat

Example Sentences:

  • He eats constantly, but he never gets fat.
  • I got so large and fat that I couldn't find clothes in my size.
  • She thinks she is fat, but she's actually just a little bit overweight.

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Fit: in good physical shape. When we say someone is fit, we mean that they are healthy and strong, especially because they exercise regularly.

Fit

Example Sentences:

  • I need to get fit. I'm so out of shape! ("In shape" means in good physical condition. "Out of shape" means not in a good physical condition.)
  • You're so fit! You must work out all the time.
  • I'm trying to get my husband to exercise with me so we can both get fit.

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Good-looking: physically attractive. This means that they have features on their face and body that are pleasing to look at. For example, they might have symmetrical features, bright eyes, and a pleasant smile.

Good-looking

Example Sentences:

  • He is a good-looking man. He has perfect teeth and he is tall and muscular.
  • She is very good-looking but she hardly ever smiles.
  • Do you think he is good-looking? I'm not sure.

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Gorgeous: extremely beautiful or very attractive. We use this word to describe someone's exceptionally good physical appearance.

Gorgeous

Example Sentences:

  • She is absolutely gorgeous! I can't believe she is interested in me.
  • He is so gorgeous! I can't take my eyes off him.
  • Kyle is gorgeous and he knows it. He is always flirting with other girls.

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Graceful: moving in a smooth, confident, and beautiful way. This word is usually used to describe how someone moves their body, or a part of their body.

Graceful

Example Sentences:

  • Donna is a graceful dancer. The audience loves her.
  • She moved her graceful arms in the air as she danced.
  • He is very graceful for a man of his size. He moves like a cat.

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Handsome (of a man): physically attractive, especially in a traditional way. This means that they have classic good looks. They might have for example strong features, a symmetrical face, and thick, healthy hair.

Handsome

Example Sentences:

  • He is a handsome man. He looks like he should be a movie star!
  • James is very handsome, but he is also very shy.
  • I think my husband is handsome, but he doesn't think so.

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Lovely (of a woman or girl): beautiful or attractive in a way that makes you feel happy. This word can describe someone's physical appearance ("You look lovely in this dress!"), but it can also describe their personality or behavior ("That was a lovely thing for you to do").

Lovely

Example Sentences:

  • Her lovely blue eyes caught his attention across the room.
  • Bob's lovely sister was very welcoming to us.
  • Jessica has a lovely smile. It shines brightly.

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Middle-aged: between approximately 40 and 60 years old. This is the period of life when people are considered to be in the "middle" of their lives.  

Middle-aged

Example Sentences:

  • Graham is middle-aged, but he still acts like a child.
  • The couple is middle-aged and they have three teenage children.
  • Our boss is middle-aged and he is very energetic and active.

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Muscular: having large, well-developed muscles. This word is often used to describe athletes or people who lift weights regularly.

Muscular

Example Sentences:

  • He is very muscular. He must work out all the time!
  • She is quite muscular for a woman. She must lift weights.
  • I'm not very muscular, even though I play soccer.

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Obese: very overweight, to the point where it is considered unhealthy.

Obese

Example Sentences:  

  • He is obese and he tries to lose weight.
  • After having her baby, she gradually became obese and has been struggling to slim down. (To "slim down" means to become thinner by eating less and/or exercising more).
  • According to the doctor, I am obese and I need to diet.

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Old: having lived for many years, no longer young. This word can be used to describe people, animals, or things.

Old

Example Sentences:

  • My grandmother is quite old. She is 94 years old.
  • An old man was walking down the street.
  • She looked much older than she actually was.

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Overweight: a weight above what is considered normal or optimal. This word is often used to describe people who are trying to lose weight.

Overweight

Example Sentences:

  • He was a bit overweight, but he was still attractive.
  • Being overweight can lead to health problems.
  • According to the BMI chart, I am overweight, but I feel healthy. ("BMI" stands for "Body Mass Index" and it means the ratio of your weight to your height).

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Plain: not beautiful or handsome, but also not ugly. This word is often used to describe people who are considered to be in the middle range of attractiveness (not particularly attractive or impressive).

Plain

Example Sentences:

  • He is not ugly, but he is not exactly handsome either. I guess you could say he is plain.
  • She is a bit plain, but she has a great personality.
  • Without her makeup and high heels, Mary is quite plain.

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Pretty: nice to look at. This word is often used to describe women or girls. She might have for example a good smile, nice hair, or cool eyes. Pretty is different than beautiful because it is not as strong of a word. While "pretty" might describe something that is cute or sweet, "beautiful" takes it a step further to describe perfection.

Pretty

Example Sentences:

  • Jane looks so pretty in that pink hat.
  • I am pretty, but I would not consider myself beautiful.
  • A pretty little girl with big brown eyes entered the room, holding purple flowers.

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Ravishing: very beautiful. This word is often used to describe women. When someone ravishing enters a room, all eyes are on her.

Ravishing

Example Sentences:

  • The model looked ravishing in her long, red dress.
  • Everyone turned to look at the ravishing woman who had just walked in.
  • The bride dances with her husband on their wedding day, looking ravishing in her white dress.

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Redhead: a person (usually a woman or girl) with reddish hair. Red hair is a bit rarer than other hair colors like black, brown, or blonde. Some people with red hair have freckles, which are small brown spots on the skin.

Redhead

Example Sentences:

  • She is a natural redhead and she is very proud of it.
  • I love redheads! My girlfriend is a redhead.
  • Ciara is a redhead, but she doesn't have any freckles.

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Short: not tall, small in height.

Short

Example Sentences:

  • He is short, but he is one of the strongest people I know.
  • Little Billy was too short to reach the top shelf.
  • Valerie was short, but powerful. No one messed with her. (To "mess with someone" means to bother or annoy them).

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Skinny: too thin. This word describes someone who is thin in an unattractive way.

Skinny

Example Sentences:

  • Don't worry, you're not fat. You're actually a bit too skinny.
  • I am worried about Valentina. She hardly eats and she became so too skinny.
  • Poor Joe was so too skinny, you could see his ribs.

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Slender: thin in an attractive way.

Slender

Example Sentences:

  • Gabriella is tall and slender.
  • Her slender figure made her look like a model.
  • Diana's long hair highlighted her slender face.

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Slim: thin in a fit and healthy way. The word "slim" describes someone who is thin and attractive.

Slim

Example Sentences:

  • Whatever Anita wears, she always looks slim and fashionable.
  • I want to lose weight so that I can have a slim figure like my sister.
  • Jonathan has a slim build and he loves to play tennis. ("Build" means the general structure or shape of the body).

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Stunning: very impressive or beautiful. When something is stunning, it takes your breath away.

Stunning

Example Sentences:

  • Audrey's stunning beauty caught everyone by surprise.
  • Leo's stunning smile lights up the room.
  • She is stunning, isn't she?

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Tall: taller than average, someone whose height is above average.

Tall

Example Sentences:

  • Anna is quite tall for her age.
  • Most basketball players are tall.
  • The tall man was towering above the others. ("Towering" means being much taller than someone).

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Thin: having little fat on the body, not fat.

Thin

Example Sentences:

  • Bree was always the thin one in her family.
  • I am trying to eat less candy so that I can become thinner.
  • His clothes were hanging off his thin frame. ("Frame" means the general structure of the body).

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Ugly: not attractive, not nice to look at.

Ugly

Example Sentences:

  • He looked so ugly in that green sweater that even his date couldn't look at him.
  • I don't want to be rude, but that is the ugliest dress I have ever seen.
  • Don't worry, you're not ugly. You're just different.

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Well-built: having a big body and large muscles, strong and muscular. "Well-built" is often used to describe men.

Well-built

Example Sentences:

  • The well-built man was carrying two heavy suitcases.
  • Kendrick's well-built physique gave him the appearance of strength and power. ("Physique" means the physical appearance or structure of a person's body).

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Young: not old, someone who is in the early years of their life.

Young

Example Sentences:

  • My young daughter is growing so fast!
  • The young couple was very much in love.
  • He was a young, promising artist. ("Promising" means having potential or being likely to be successful).

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Story Dialogue to Illustrate Using Lesson Words in Context

Story Dialogue Words Describing Physical Appearance
Jake: Look at that redhead over there.

Sam: Wow, she’s stunning!

Jake: Yeah, and she’s tall too.

Sam: Yeah, and look at her slim figure!

Jake: I know, she's definitely not skinny or overweight.

Sam: Yeah, she looks like a model...

Jake: Wait, is that her date? He's short and well-built.

Sam: He looks handsome, but not as handsome as she is!

Jake: Yeah, no one can compete with her!

Sam: No one, she's gorgeous.

Jake: And young too. They look so cute together.

Sam: Yeah, they do. What a lovely couple.

Jake: Agreed.

Sam: Physical appearance doesn't matter if the two people love each other.

Jake: That's true. Love always wins! Real beauty is found on the inside.

Sam: Can't argue with that!