Having beauty; pleasing to the eye, ear, or mind.
This article is part of a series that looks at various aspects of writing. You can learn more by checking out the other articles in this series: – How to Write About Characters & Setting, – How to Make Your Books Thrill, – How to Write About Relationships and Sexuality, – How to Write About Health and Fitness, and – How to Write About Food and Cooking.
Definition of beautiful
Having the characteristic of a pleasing appearance: a beautiful woman, a lovely house, or a pretty flower. This adjective also applies to someone who is elegant, sumptuous, and a pleasure to be around (ex: a beautiful actress or a lovely family).
It also refers to a person’s personality. This includes a person’s character, their actions, and the way they think.
If a person is attractive, they are very attractive. The word is most common in UK English, but it can be used in US English as well.
A person who is attractive because they are tall is called a striking person. This person usually has long hair or a big face.
Another person who is attractive because of something else is a charming person or a sweet person. This is more common in UK English than in US English, but it can also be used for a person who is very small or has a funny face.
In the classics, beautiful referred to an arrangement of integral parts into a coherent whole, according to proportion, harmony, and symmetry. This concept of beauty is still embodied in classical and neo-classical architecture, sculpture, literature, and music.
The classical conception of beauty, like that of symmetry, carried with it an ethical dimension. Among other things, it was said that the virtuous soul was symmetrical and “made of the same substance as the body” (Plato, Sophist, 228c-e).
It is important to note, however, that this notion of beauty did not become widespread in Western philosophy until after the time of Aristotle. For example, in the Poetics, Aristotle says: ‘To be beautiful is to have a certain order in the arrangement of its parts. Those who are not beautiful may be made so by the use of art’ (Aristotle, volume 2, 2322 [1450b34]).
A number of twentieth-century philosophers attempted to explain what it meant to be ‘beautiful’. These ideas ranged from a view that beauty is an objective or ontologically more real concept than particular Forms, to an idea that it is subjective in the sense of being a response to something that induces a certain type of pleasure in the viewer. This line of thought echoes a similar approach taken by Santayana, who argued that beauty is ‘objectified pleasure.’ A cynic might argue that all beauty is merely a matter of opinion, and that it is a mere ‘pleasure-to-be-inflicted.’ The debate between these approaches is perhaps the most heated in the history of aesthetics, and it has shaped many of the theories and schools of philosophical aesthetics in the West.