Beauty idioms, synonyms & collocations

Compiled and contributed by Abdulla Shiyaz, English Teacher, Thoddoo School, Maldives.

We thank Shiyaz for making a difference by sharing!


 Common Synonyms and Collocations for Beauty 

  • Aesthetically pleasing (adj) is a more objective way to say that it pleases the senses. It’s much more common to use this to describe design than human beings (it’s very objective).
  • Appealing (adj): Something that is attractive or interesting (it appeals to you). We use this to talk about things and/or ideas, and it doesn’t commonly connote romantic intention with people.
  • Amazing (adj): Something or someone that surprises or impresses you (when describing a person, this is more of an in-depth feeling, not strictly external beauty).
  • Angelic (adj)/ an Angel (n): Is another way to describe something of a religious connotation, or, when describing a person, a mystical or sacred type of connection or beauty.
  • A Beauty: is to describe a particularly perfect example of something (for things and people), mainly used by men.
  • Beguiling (adj) is a type of beauty that is charming and attractive, but sometimes in a clever or deceptive way.
  • Bewitching/Bewitched (adj) has the quality of “casting a spell” on somebody, being hypnotized, or losing control, as is often the case with romantic desires.
  • Breathtaking (adj) is something that takes the breath away and if often used to describe natural beauty or something of extreme grace.
  • Captivating (adj) is a type of beauty that surprises and holds you captive (prisoner). This is often used to describe people and things that grab you and leave you without control.
  • Charming (adj) is a pleasantly hypnotic aspect of a person that may have more to do with their behavior and/or presence. This is used much more to describe the ideal man (i.e. prince charming) in a romantic sense than a woman. Similar to bewitched and enchanting.
  • Comely (adj) is a word that originates from “becoming” and has a similar meaning. This is an attractive combination, or something that fits well together, such as clothes, or a couple that complements each other.
  • Dainty (adj) is a delicate or exquisite feminine beauty. This word is a bit old-fashioned and common in old-English literature.
  • Dazzling (adj) is something or someone who dazzles you, or blinds you with a bright and surprising light that confuses your vision.
  • Delightful (adj) is something that delights, or pleases you. When talking about beauty, it’s something that pleases the senses.
  • Divine (adj) is a word used to describe a heavenly or sacred type beauty, similar to angelic. 
  • Dreamy (adj) is a type of human beauty that invokes a person to daydream (to fantasize about something). Although this word is outdated/old-fashioned, a teenage girl might describe her crush (the person she likes) as dreamy.
  • Drop-Dead (adj) Gorgeous is a common collocation for a woman or man who is so attractive that your heart will stop beating. Drop-dead is only used to describe people.
  • Eye-Catching refers to something that catches/grabs the eyes and attention from people, literally attracting looks from all around.  As exemplified
  • Easy on the eyes (adj) is a type of beauty that makes it easy to look at that person. It is, of course, an understatement (the presence of something as being smaller). Also Not Hard to Look At.
  • Enchanting (adj) is a beauty or appeal that has the power to enchant, or “casts a spell” over you (uses magic to change your state). This can be used with people and things. Similar to charming and bewitched.
  • Fabulous (adj) is a beauty or appeal that inspires wonder. Similar to wonderful and amazing.
  • Fair (adj) is a very delicate form of beauty that comes from old-English (i.e. my fair lady or the).  It also means just, or light-skinned and/or blonde.
  • Glamorous (adj) means to possess a magical and/or exciting charm, or glamour.
  • Glorious (adj) is a type of appeal that evokes splendor, admiration, and glory.
  • Graceful (adj) is an elegant type of beauty, often delicate in appearance or movement.
  • A head turner (n) is a person so beautiful that they cause people to turn their heads to look at them as they walk or drive past (often causing car accidents).
  • Heart-stopping (adj) is an extreme and surprising type of beauty that is said to “stop the heart.”
  • Hypnotic (adj) is somebody who is so attractive that they hypnotize you in a way that you lose control.
  • Irresistible (adj) is a type of attraction or appeal that cannot be resisted. This is often used to describe a beautiful person, but is also used to describe emotions, feelings, and impulses.
  • A looker (n) is a synonym for somebody who “looks good,” as in good-looking, typically used to describe a young woman.
  • Luscious (adj) is literally something that tastes good, rich, and sweet. As is often the case, the sensual experience of food transfers over to describe somebody who is sensually attractive.
  • Magnetic (adj) is an attractiveness or appeal that acquires the quality of a magnet, that lures, pulls you toward it.
  • Magnificent (adj) is an impressive and extravagant type of beauty that can be used to describe a person or a thing. 
  • Marvelous (adj) is an adjective that literally means to inspire wonder, awe, and admiration. It can be used to describe a strong attraction or appeal toward a person, or a thing. 
  • Nice (adj) is a colloquial synonym for beautiful that also means pleasant and enjoyable.
  • Ravishing (adj) is an extreme and/or stunning beauty that hypnotizes you.
  • Riveting (adj) is something that fully captures your attention in a positive way to the point of losing control.
  • Sensuous (adj) is another word describing purely physical beauty, referring to the appreciation of a person’s physical qualities.
  • Spectacular (adj) is a type of beauty that is dramatic and impressive, that evokes people’s attention as a spectacle. This is used for both people and things.
  • Striking Beauty (adj) is a common collocation with beauty that describes it as something that strikes, or hits you hard, causing an impact.
  • Sublime (adj) is a type of beauty that is almost spiritual or sacred, and that inspires admiration. This can be used to describe people, but it’s more often used to describe things. 
  • A traffic stopper (n) refers to a person who is so attractive that they stop traffic. Whatever the reason, this is usually a reference to women. This can be used to describe fascinating and beautiful things as well.
  • Wonderful (adj) is a beauty or appeal that inspires wonder, amazement, curiosity.

English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions

Beauty – Appearance

cut a dash If a person cuts a dash, they make a striking impression by their appearance and attractive clothes.
Wearing his uniform, my grandfather cut a dash on his wedding day.
deck out If you deck out someone or something, you dress or decorate them in a special way.
Paul decked out his car for the occasion.
dressed to kill When someone, especially a woman, is dressed to kill, they are wearing very fashionable or glamorous clothes intended to attract attention.
She arrived at the reception dressed to kill.
dressed up to the nines Someone dressed up to the nines is wearing very smart or glamorous clothes.
Caroline must be going to a party – she’s dressed up to the nines.
down at heel A person who is down-at-heel is someone whose appearance is untidy or neglected because of lack of money.
The down-at-heel student I first met became a successful writer.
face like a bulldog chewing a wasp To say that someone has a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp means that you find them very unattractive because they have a screwed-up ugly expression on their face.
Not only was he rude but he had a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp!
face only a mother could love This is a humoristic way of saying that someone is ugly or unattractive.
The poor guy has a face only a mother could love.
face that would stop a clock Someone who has a face that would stop a clock has a shockingly unattractive face.
You’ll recognize him – he’s tall and thin, with a face that would stop a clock!
 five o’clock shadow This expression refers to a patch of stubble on the face of a man who hasn’t shaved for at least a day.
He looked tired and had a five o’clock shadow.
not a hair out of place To say that someone does not have a hair out of place means that their appearance is perfect.
Angela is always impeccably dressed – never a hair out of place!
look a sight If a person looks a sight, their appearance is awful, unsuitable or very untidy.
She looks a sight in that dress!
look like a million dollars If you look like a million dollars, you look extremely good.
With a tan and a new hairstyle she looked a million dollars!
mutton dressed as lamb This expression refers to a middle-aged woman who tries to look younger by dressing in clothes designed for younger people.
The style doesn’t suit her – it has a mutton-dressed-as-lamb effect on her!
pretty as a picture Someone who is (as) “pretty as a picture’ is very attractive or appealing in appearance.
The young bride looked (as) pretty as a picture in her beautiful dress.
(all) skin and bone If someone is all skin and bone, they are very thin or too thin.
After trekking in the Himalayas, he was all skin and bone.
thin on the top If someone, usually a man, is thin on the top, they are losing their hair or going bald.
Dad’s gone a bit thin on the top in the last few years.
(as) ugly as sin This expression is used to refer to people or things that are considered to be very unattractive.
Have you seen the new neighbour’s dog? It’s as ugly as sin!
vertically challenged This term is a humoristic way of referring to someone who is not very tall.
High shelves are difficult for vertically challenged shoppers.


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