Usage poll "handsome" (of a man)

I understand your point, erhu, the word “handsome” may seem a little stuffy and old-fashioned, but the poll results are already indicating it’s still a perfectly valid term and I believe the results will continue to show that.

I also agree with the others that cute, hunk, hot, etc. are somewhat bubble-gum-chewing, romance-mag-reading, Sex-in-the-Cityish, sorority-girl terms. Perhaps you can teach them more grown-up terms such as aristocratic, comely, dapper, elegant, noble, pulchritudinous, stately, virile and tuna. Yes, tuna.

I always thought “handsome” was reserved for dapper gents such as Sean Connery and The Chief

oh and…slightly off topic but I want to make it my mission to bring the word “ugmo” as in “ugly person” into common speech.

[quote=“Erhu”]I don’t know about you non-American English speakers, but I do know that no American female under the age of 50 uses the word “handsome” to describe a good-rooking male. So, when I hear every Taiwanese girl and her momma and baby sister using this word to describe men, it makes me go hmmm…

While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the word, it’s extremely old-fashioned. So why is it that “handsome” is the only word that people here know when it comes to describing an attractive man?

These are the words that my girlfriends use when they see a good-rooking man. Damn girl, he’s so:
…extremely good-rooking!

We NEVER say “handsome”!

It depends a bit on the age of the woman and the man. I wouldn’t expect a teenager to say a guy at school was handsome, but it wouldn’t sound odd to me if someone said George Clooney was handsome. The examples you give - hot, fine, cute - sound very young to me, and only for very casual conversations.

handsome does sound a bit stiff, given that Americans don’t speak English anymore. :laughing:

Last time I was in the States, I don’t think I heard people use one word to describe the attractiveness of a person. It was more like “Oh I gotta hit that” or " I gotta get me some of that" “That’s hot”(Paris Hilton) “He’s doable”

Seems like people are more objects for sexual desire than something to appreciate. :idunno:

I remember my grandmother talking about the totty available to the 70 something widow in Swansea… She and her mate Beryl refer to the gentlemen at the dancing as ‘wines’ or ‘cheeses’ depending on whether they have matured to be complex, fruity and rich, or overripe, sweaty and malodorous at room temperature…

Is there any time other than very casual conversations that you would be discussing how attractive a man is? I can’t think of any professional or academic situations where “He’s so handsome” would be appropriate either.

If I’m talking to Dad, we would probably use the word good-rooking. Don’t forget my last example was good-rooking .

Me: Dad, I know you are going to like _____. He’s nice and smart and funny. Just like you.
Dad: Is he good-rooking?
Me: Yes! Good-rooking!
Dad: Oh. In that case, he’s not just like me.
Me: Ha ha ha. Dad, you are too funny.
Dad: Hey, are you saying I’m not good-rooking?

So, speaking of “handsome,” explain to me this unique, extremely bizarre turn-down I’ve never heard anywhere but Taiwan, and would sound extremely bizarre anywhere but Taiwan…

“You are too handsome. I can’t trust you.”


(and yes, I can anticipate the inivatable replies from guys and girls who have no clue whether I’m as ugly as Sandman or as handsome as Bismarck, “The girls are just thinking of a polite excuse to get rid of you,” but trust me, I don’t think that’s it…if they really wanted to get rid of me, they wouldn’t have done so in such a way that gave me a great reason to come back to them, would they?)

Not unique to Taiwan, you hear that a lot in Thailand and the Philippines, especilly if you frequent certain “drinking” areas.

First of all, IF one’s vocabularic capabilities extend at all beyond the lexicon employed at the roller rink, you may actually employ (gasp) multiple terms for multiple meanings.
Surely as a functional adult you’re able to convey a more detailed description beyond X and O.
I would certainly never confine my description of a woman’s good looks to simply “Good vs. Bad”.
Mrs. Sandman, Tash, Mrs. Truant, and my own beloved Mrs. the chief are all, without exception, extraordinarily “good looking” and “attractive” and, yes, “hot”.
Given your stunted mutt of a yardstick, however, were I called upon to describe them to someone they hadn’t met, I’d be confined to a range of expression so limited as to be practically useless.

“Wow, that Sandman is a lucky cunt”
“Really? How so?”
“Have you met his missus?”
“No, what does she look like?”
“She’s good looking!”
“Oh, like Tash?”
“Uhhhhhh, erm, yeah…I mean no, I mean, erm…”

Second of all, if you rate the situation accurately regarding terms used to discuss women among locals, I think you’ll find that the term “beautiful” is practically never used. Yes, “pretty” is bandied about fairly liberally (and is thus nearly meaningless), but a Westerner is much more likely to refer to a woman known or met as “beautiful” than a local person.

And yeah, Sandman is pretty fucking handsome.
Just saying is all.

ps Funk500, many thanks for your kind words…

I use “handsome” for good-looking guys over 40.

“Hot” or “sexy” for really good-looking guys that I like to watch in movies or drool-over in when talking with other women, but that I would never want to date either because they’d probably be too vain or too sought-after and I don’t like having so much competition. (What can I say, I’m the jealous type :wink: .)

“Cute” is what I call good-looking guys that I’d actually like to date. For me, “cute” means good-looking and approachable.

a little off-topic, but i met a guy in HK (you know they sometimes have funny names) who had an interesting name.

Last name: Man

First name: Handsome

no joke.

There’s a dentist here who’s called Dr. Natural Chan.

I don’t think I’ve EVER been called handsome back home. Cute maybe, but not handsome. Here, even dudes say “Hey, you’re very handsome”. It was only after I knocked out the second one that I realised it was used a bit differently here.

So the guys here are all knocked out by you?


God, it’s impossible to get ANYTHING past you, Buttercup.

[quote=“irishstu”]OK! OK! I DIDN’T KNOCK THEM OUT!

God, it’s impossible to get ANYTHING past you, Buttercup.[/quote]


“Handsomely done, my lad! And handsome is as handsome did it too!”

Please tell me that you’ve read these words before, Erhu, or I shall sink into despair…

…and listen to The Handsome Family.

Where in America are you from? It’s a big country you know. I hear both handsome and beautiful by speakers of all ages. 'Nothing stuffy or old-fashioned about them at all.

No, it wasn’t a “herro, hansum man” thing. You hear Taiwanese girls say sometimes that they don’t want a guy who is “too handsome”. Perhaps because they fear they can’t trust/control him, but any ordinary looking guy they can?