The Backstreet Boys told us, “What makes you different, makes you beautiful.” Christina Aguilera said, “You are beautiful, no matter what they say.” With so much positivity, can anyone be absolutely beautiful?
It is correct to say “absolutely beautiful.” The adverb “absolutely” means completely and totally. “Beautiful” is an adjective that refers to someone very attractive. Hence, you can be absolutely beautiful. Whether this statement is literally true is in the eyes of the beholder, but you can use this common phrase as a compliment.
There is some nuance in the usage of the adverb and adjective, which some people may consider to be over-used. Read on to find out more about this phrase and others that you can use instead.
What Does “Absolutely Beautiful” Mean?
“Absolutely beautiful” is a phrase that you can use to describe someone or something as very attractive or appealing. While you can use the adjective “beautiful” to describe human attractiveness, it can also apply to objects and scenery.
“Beautiful” is one of those words that has become very common in our day-to-day lexis, and most people will use it when describing something lovely.
Etymology of Beautiful
The root word “beauty” originates from the Old French word “biauté” and Old Latin “bellus” (source). The word applied to both males and females initially but narrowed over time to become more positive for females and more negative for males.
Although a relatively common word, it was more frequent in the 1800s and saw a dip in the 1900s. This could be due to the changing attitudes towards feminine beauty during that time and the influx of other synonyms that were more interesting to use.
However, usage has picked up again in the 2000s. That is most likely due to social media, which requires strong language, including “beautiful” instead of “pretty” or “attractive.” Both of these words do not resonate as much emotionally.
Meaning of Beautiful
“Beautiful” is an adjective you can use to describe the attractiveness of someone or the pleasant qualities they possess (source). You can also apply it to inanimate objects or scenarios that are visually pleasing.
“Beautiful” also has a lot of connotative meaning. When you use the word, it generally indicates a level of beauty beyond the expected. While it is a simple, common phrase, it is also a strong adjective that is very evocative.
- These flowers are so beautiful!
- Your hair is the most beautiful I have ever seen.
- They looked down the mountain. “This is beautiful,” she whispered.
It can also function as an adverb when coupled with “-ly.” As in, “She paints beautifully.” This indicates to the reader that the subject has a lot of talent and paints very well.
Etymology of Absolute
“Absolute” is originally from Middle English and functions as an adjective (source). It also shares its roots with Middle French and Old Latin. It meant something unconditional, unfettered, or completed.
This meaning continues today in some form.
Meaning of Absolutely
The word “absolute” means entirely or totally (source). In its adverbial form, “absolutely” indicates that the accompanying adjective is the epitome of its definition.
- “Class, you have to be absolutely quiet,” warned the teacher.
- He came in at 2:00 a.m. and looked absolutely terrible.
- As I left my country, I felt absolutely cut off from everyone.
“Absolutely” can also be a standalone word. It is an emphatic way of responding with “yes” or “no” to another statement.
- Would you recommend this school?
- Mom, can I go out tonight?
- Absolutely not! It’s a school night.
Synonyms for “Absolutely Beautiful”
Since “absolutely beautiful” can be a common phrase, other phrases can replace these. However, while the meaning may be similar, there are shades of meanings to words that might change the message you intend to convey.
Synonyms for “absolutely” include “completely,” “totally,” “utterly,” “perfectly,” and “entirely” (source). These are all perfect synonyms that have a very similar meaning.
There is more nuance in synonyms for “beautiful.” Instead of “beautiful,” you can use “gorgeous,” “stunning,” “attractive,” “pretty,” and “alluring.”
“Gorgeous” and “stunning” generally refer to physical looks and are both strong adjectives that emphasize good looks. In contrast, “attractive” and “pretty” are not as strong, and you would use them to show that something or someone is pleasing to look at, but they may not be the most beautiful examples.
Finally, synonyms like “alluring” and “appealing” are more likely to refer to the senses beyond sight. “Alluring” has connotations of physical attraction and lust. “Appealing” also has similar connotations but is less sensual.
There are several ways to compare and contrast the usage of “absolutely beautiful” to other appropriate synonyms.
For a direct, literal comparison, you can use the following as a control sentence: “Sarah walked in, and she looked absolutely beautiful!”
- Sarah looked utterly stunning in her new dress.
- Sarah looked completely gorgeous in her new dress.
- Sarah looked perfectly delightful in her new dress.
While all words have connotations and shades of meaning, the previous examples did not change the intended meaning significantly. However, the following table shows how meanings can vary depending on the synonym you use.
|The landscape was utterly magnificent.||The word “magnificent” indicates something significant and wondrous, so while it does relate to beauty, it also refers to size.|
|This painting is perfectly exquisite.||“Exquisite” is like an exaggerated form of “beautiful” and could stand as a synonym for “absolutely beautiful” on its own. “Exquisite” also suggests that something is delicate.|
|The mountains were absolutely heavenly.||By using the adjective “heavenly,” it indicates that there is a divine element to the beauty that you describe.|
|Her smile was definitely winsome.||The adjective “winsome” relates to beauty but also has the connotation of innocence. So, describing a person as “winsome” indicates that they are young and inexperienced.|
Although these are a small sample of the many adjectival phrases available for “absolutely beautiful,” you can see the different effects that you can create through specific words.
Usage and Grammar for Absolutely Beautiful
We’ve already explored the meaning of “beautiful” and “absolutely.” Now we’ll analyze their usage.
Usage of “Beautiful”
The primary function of “beautiful” is as an adjective. It describes attractive and appealing people and objects. It can come directly before the subject or object that you are describing.
“Beautiful” can also function as a noun. You can use “beautiful” as a compliment, and it can replace endearments like “gorgeous,” “darling,” and “sweetheart.” This usage is more colloquial and standard in American English.
- Hey there, beautiful!
- Beautiful, you’ll break my heart if you cancel our date.
- The Bold and the Beautiful is a long-running soap opera.
You can also use the term “beautiful” as an exclamation. If you agree with someone or are happy with the result, you can use “beautiful” as a response to the sentence. You can also use it ironically if you are unhappy with the situation.
- You got into university? Beautiful!
- You got the tickets to the comedy show? Beautiful!
- Punctured tire, a speeding ticket, and I’m late for work. Beautiful!
Usage of “Absolutely”
“Absolutely” is an interesting word because it functions as both an adverb and a standalone statement or interjection (source).
As an adverb in conjunction with an adjective, it indicates that something is wholly or entirely as described — both negative and positive.
- This has been an absolutely fantastic day!
- That dress is absolutely hideous. What were you thinking?
- The baby is absolutely adorable!
As an adverb that modifies a verb, it indicates an unequivocal agreement with the action taking place.
- I’m absolutely certain about the plans today, so make sure that you’re on time.
- I know you’re a good person, so I absolutely trust you.
- I know I have a shopping problem, so I will absolutely not buy anything.
Finally, as an exclamation or interjection, it can stand independently or with “not” as the negative form. An exclamation mark often accompanies it to indicate strong agreement or disagreement, but it is not always necessary.
- Are you coming to the party? Absolutely!
- He wants to come to my house? Absolutely not!
- Absolutely. I’ll join you all in the meeting room.
Usage of “Absolutely Beautiful”
Are there specific moments when you should use “absolutely beautiful”? That depends on what you’re trying to say.
As we mentioned previously, “absolutely beautiful” is perfect for describing female beauty. This can be describing physical looks, behavior, and items of clothing, amongst others. When describing behavior, you can use the phrase more broadly to include males as well.
- Tasha’s eyes were absolutely beautiful.
- Beth curtsied, and everyone’s eyes were drawn to her absolutely beautiful gown.
- Fitzwilliam’s manners were absolutely beautiful when he put in some effort.
“Absolutely beautiful” is also an appropriate phrase to describe scenery, objects, or even the weather. When using the words, you are indicating that there is some excitement or vitality in the description.
- The Grand Canyon is absolutely beautiful, in a hauntingly barren way.
- This artwork is absolutely beautiful — note the delicacy of the brushstrokes.
- Look at the sunset; it is absolutely beautiful!
Finally, one place where “absolutely beautiful” becomes a little more nuanced is about the male gender. The phrase relates to the female gender, and while you can apply it to men, its meaning may differ.
When using the phrase for men, the words are descriptions of features rather than complimenting their looks.
- Look at that man; he is absolutely beautiful!
- His features are absolutely beautiful.
- His eyes are smokey grey; they’re absolutely beautiful.
In contrast, if you were to compliment a man, words like “handsome,” “dashing,” and “good looking” would be more appropriate as adjectives you direct towards him.
However, society sets norms about what words are more appropriate to describe a man, and there is nothing wrong with using “absolutely beautiful.” As we mentioned earlier, “beautiful” does have a feminine connotation, but you can technically apply it to both genders equally.
When to Use “Absolutely Beautiful”
Since the phrase is a common one, you should use “absolutely beautiful” sparingly. When speaking, the term generally comes across as a sincere compliment or positive response. However, the tone is vital, and you can also use the term sarcastically.
Some people might say that “absolutely” does not add a lot to the adjective “beautiful” since the adjective is already a strong one. This is a matter of preference, but grammatically, “absolutely beautiful” is fine to use.
The comparative and superlative form of “beautiful” is “more beautiful” and “the most beautiful.” “Absolutely beautiful” does not compare the object or subject to anything else, but if you did wish to compare, use “absolutely” before the comparative or superlative form.
- Zoey is absolutely the most beautiful girl in the room.
- Aaron’s eyes are absolutely more beautiful than Luca’s.
For anyone else who might be struggling with longer words and their comparative forms, read “Healthier or More Healthier: Meaning and Correct Usage.”
Since “beautiful” is a very strong adjective and “absolutely” emphasizes it, you should only use “absolutely beautiful” when referring to something that is especially appealing or extraordinarily gorgeous.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
If you are describing a slice of cold pizza, using the phrase “absolutely beautiful” to describe it would be considered sarcastic. However, if you were at a breathtaking beach with soft white sands, crystal clear water, and gentle sea breezes, “absolutely beautiful” is a perfect description.
“Absolutely beautiful” is a common phrase and compliment. Even though “beautiful” is a strong adjective already, using “absolutely” emphasizes how utterly stunning something is.
It is correct to use the phrase, but you should only use it when you want to describe something which is out of the ordinary and that you cannot describe by weaker adjectives such as “pretty” or “attractive.”