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Webster's Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition

Webster's Dictionary 1828

Americal Dictionary of the English Language

American Dictionary
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English Language

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Handsome

HAND'SOME, adjective

1. Properly, dexterous; ready; convenient.

For a thief it is so handsome as it may seem it was first invented for him.

This sense is either from the original meaning of hand, or from the use of the hand, or rather of the right hand. In this sense the word is still used. We say of a well fought combat and victory, it is a handsome affair, an affair well performed, done with dexterity or skill. [See Handy.]

2. Moderately beautiful, as the person or other thing; well made; having symmetry of parts; well formed. It expresses less than beautiful or elegant; as a handsome woman or man; she has a handsome person or face. So we say, a handsome house; a handsome type.

3. Graceful in manner; marked with propriety and ease; as a handsome address.

4. Ample; large; as handsome fortune.

5. Neat; correct; moderately elegant; as a handsome style or composition.

6. Liberal; generous; as a handsome present.

The applications of this word in popular language are various and somewhat indefinite. In general, when applied to things, it imports that the form is agreeable to the eye, or to just taste; and when applied to manner, it conveys the idea of suitableness or propriety with grace.

HAND'SOME, as a verb, to render neat or beautiful, is not an authorized word.