I’ve always felt like saying “beautiful” in another language expresses the feeling even better.
A lot of words in English mean “beautiful”. You can tell someone they’re cute, pretty, elegant, handsome… So many synonyms for the same word, and new ones popping up and fading out all the time (like “looking fly” or “on fleek” as examples).
Yet, I don’t know about you, but I get a bit bored using the same words all the time. That’s part of the appeal of learning so many languages. You can learn how to express yourself in new ways, and many languages have unique words that aren’t translatable. I love that.
There’s definitely no shortage of words for “beautiful” in different languages from around the world. Here I’m sharing how to express beauty in 15 languages, so you can choose the word you prefer to enrich perfect moments!
Here’s a quick preview of the most common words to say “beautiful” in the 14 different languages I’ll cover in this post.
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Keep reading for more synonym words and expressions!
In Spanish, you say hermosa or hermoso when you want to call someone “beautiful” or “gorgeous.” But there are tons of ways to express the same feeling in Spanish.
Hermoso/a is a little on the formal side, so here are some more words to say “beautiful” in Spanish:
- bello/bella – “lovely”
- guapo/guapa – “handsome”
- bonito/bonita – “pretty”
Reminder: Words ending in “o” are masculine, and “a” are feminine. Make sure to use the correct ending based on who you’re talking to, or what gender the noun is that you’re describing.
You could even have a bit of fun and describe someone as “tasty” or “dreamy like cheese” with estar como un queso.
(And if you want to be romantic with other words, here are 50+ Spanish phrases and words to share your love.)
“Beautiful” in French is either beau (masculine) or belle (feminine). As with Spanish, French has genders for words.
To simplify it, you could say magnifique (“magnificent”), which is used to describe something or someone as very beautiful or striking. Flatter your significant other with Tu es absolument magnifique (“You look absolutely stunning.”)
You could also tell someone they are joli (masculine) or jolie (feminine, “pretty”).
In German, you can use schön to tell someone they’re “lovely” or “beautiful”. But it’s also common to say it with more intensity: wunderschön, or “very beautiful”. Du bist wunderschön means “you’re very beautiful!”
You can also tell someone they’re “pretty” with hübsch, or “cute” or “sweet” with süßes. Plus, German is full of fun, cute nicknames to express your adoration…
In Korean, there are two main words for “beautiful” – 아름답다 (areumdapda, “beautiful”) and 예쁘다 (yeppeuda, “pretty”).
While you can use both to describe most anything of beauty, 아름답다 is usually too strong to use with people, especially to compliment young women. So 예쁘다 is more common when talking about people. 아름답다 is best for things like scenery.
Of course, there are varying levels of formality in Korean.
If you want to tell someone you’re very close to (like your significant other) that they’re looking very nice today, you say 예뻐 (yeppeo) or 이뻐 (ippeo). They both mean pretty, but 이뻐 is more slangy. 아름다워 (areumdawo) is the more informal version of 아름답다, but it’s still not used often for people… even your girlfriend.
美しい (utsukushii) means “beautiful” in Japanese, but it’s a bit “intense” to say to other people.
So, there are many variations. Often, you’ll hear beautiful described as “clean” with 綺麗な (kirei na). You’ll hear 素敵な (suteki na, “lovely”) used more commonly in place of beautiful, especially when describing beautiful clothes or a beautiful woman.
Especially glamorous boys (think the boy band type or the hero in girls manga) would be 美少年 (bishounen, “beautiful youth”). But most girls use かっこいい (kakkoii, “cool” or “good-looking”) to describe an attractive guy.
Girls are usually called 美少女 (bishoujo, “beautiful girl”) or 可愛い (kawaii, “cute”).
Fun fact: Kawaii culture is quite popular in Japan. You can learn more about it in this post.
In Italian, “beautiful” is bello/bella. You can also describe someone as “very beautiful” or “gorgeous” by using bellissimo (masculine) and bellissima (feminine).
Italian continues the theme of gender-based words here! You’ll see this in a lot of languages.
In the Romance languages, it’s not unusual to describe men with the same words as women. Still, it’s more common to use bella for a woman, and less common to hear bello for a man.
You could also say someone is attraente, or “attractive”. This word is gender-neutral, so you don’t have to worry about what gender you pair it with.
In Chinese, the single character 美 means beautiful. But it’s almost always combined with 丽 to form “beautiful”, 美丽 (Měilì), to describe things. 美 on its own is a more intense, lasting beauty, while 美丽 is more common to describe beauty in day-to-day life.
Besides 美丽, you can also use 漂亮 (piào liàng), which translates closer to “pretty”. It’s used to describe objects, people, scenery… anything, really. The two characters mean “elegant” and “bright”, but 优雅 (yōuyǎ) is the more accurate translation for describing someone as elegant.
Fun fact: Since Japanese takes some of its characters (kanji) from China, you’ll notice that the first character in 美丽 is the same as 美しい from Japanese – although the reading is different.
Like many of the other languages, “beautiful” in Russian changes based on what you’re describing. красивое (krasivoye) is gender neutral. To say, “beautiful” to a woman, you would use красивая (krasivaya), and to a man, красивый (krasivyy).
Милая (milaya) means “pretty” and it’s used affectionately, almost like “sweet girl”. You could describe someone as “charming” with очаровательная (ocharovatel’naya). Both of these are in the feminine form, so make sure to change them if you’re describing a neutral or masculine noun or a man. You would usually use these words for women, though.
In Arabic, you can use جميلة (jamila) to tell a woman she’s beautiful, or جميل (jamil) for a man.
You can also say وسيم (wasim) to describe a man as “handsome” or “good-looking”. ملفت للانتباه (mulifat lilaintibah) can be used for either a man or a woman to say “attractive”. If someone’s glamorous or alluring, you can use فاتن (fatan).
Besides keeping an eye out for the gender of the words, you’ll also notice these Arabic words change quite a bit based on the region it’s spoken in as well.
Fun fact: This happens with other phrases and expressions as well, such as Arabic greetings, which are different based on where they are used in the Arabic world.
Portuguese words for beautiful are similar to Italian and Spanish. Like in Spanish, bonito and bonita means “beautiful” or “pretty” for masculine and feminine nouns respectively. You can also say belíssimo for “stunning”… almost the same as Italian.
Other words you can use are belo for “lovely”, formoso for “handsome”, and gracioso for “gorgeous”.
As with other Romance languages, you’ll need to follow gender rules here too, with “o” being the masculine ending for adjectives, and “a” being feminine.
To tell someone they look beautiful in Dutch, you can say mooi, which means both “beautiful” and “handsome”. But most of the time you would use knap for “handsome”, typically for men.
Other ways you can express someone or something’s beauty:
- schoon – “clean” and “beautiful”
- heerlijk – “lovely”
- fraai – “fine” or “handsome”
- fijn – “nice” or “elegant”
If someone asks how they look, you can say Gewoon mooi!, (“Simply beautiful!”) Or you can change mooi to its superlative form: Mooiste! (“Most beautiful!”)
This is also spelt as álainn when used to describe something as beautiful. For instance, “beautiful woman” is bean álainn, but “The woman is beautiful” is Tá an bhean go hálainn. A small difference, but something worth noting.
Another word for beautiful is taibhseach, which is more like “gorgeous” or “stunning”. You could also say galánta to describe someone as an elegant beauty.
Bela is a catch-all Esperanto word for many similar words in English and does not change based on gender. It means “beautiful”, “pretty”, and “lovely”. You could also say eleganta for – you guessed it – “elegant”, or glamorosa for “glamorous”.
Esperanto is an incredibly easy language to learn. It’s a constructed language meant to bring people together from across the world. So you’ll notice a lot of words in Esperanto are similar to others on the list, or English words.
In Greek, you can say πανέμορφο (panemorfo) to say “beautiful” or “exquisite”, but when describing something or someone as beautiful, you use όμορφο (ómorfo). So to say “beautiful girl”, you would say όμορφη κορίτσι (omorfi korítsi).
You can also describe men as όμορφος (omorfos), or use ωραίος (oraíos, “good-looking” or “nice”). In Greek, the endings change based on gender, but it’s a bit different than the other languages we’ve looked at. So here, “os” is the masculine form, “i” is feminine, and “o” is neutral.
For “beautiful” in ASL, you can check out this short video that gives a great demonstration:
An easy way to remember it: the whole face is so beautiful, it pops… It sticks out from the crowd, it’s very striking. You start with your thumb pointing at your chin and roll your fingers around the front of your face.
Now you can compliment someone on their beauty in 15 different languages!
You can surprise your significant other by calling them beautiful, stunning, elegant, handsome, lovely, or attractive in all these languages… or you can practise with your pet.
Just make sure before you go saying any of these to strangers, you understand the cultural nuance (like I mentioned with Japanese and Korean!).
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