What makes a word beautiful?
Is it the sound of the word or its meaning?
The study of the pleasantness or unpleasantness of the way words and phrases sound (regardless of their meaning) is called phonaesthetics.
But I think the combination of sound and meaning is what makes for pretty words.
Consider the word “diarrhea” which trills off the tongue but isn't a pleasant topic to ponder.
But the word “diary” is equally pleasing to the ear and has an intriguing meaning.
What Are the Most Beautiful Words?
The most beautiful words in English are those that thrill the ear and that stir the mind or soul.
They are words that inspire, uplift, excite, comfort, challenge, move and entice us. But they can also have a neutral or even unpleasant meaning (hemorrhage, flatulence, etc.).
British linguist, David Crystal, created a series of attributes of words that are commonly considered beautiful. Those attributes include:
- Having three or more syllables.
- Emphasis on the first syllable.
- The presence of particular letters people enjoy saying (like I and M).
Ultimately, the most beautiful words are the words that you find beautiful.
What is the Prettiest Word in the World?
There are more than 7000 languages in the world, with hundreds of thousands of words in most of them. So it's difficult (if not impossible) to narrow the list to one word alone.
You might start by exploring the most beautiful languages in the world which are often considered Italian, French, Arabic, and Turkish. But still, what each person finds beautiful is subjective.
Maybe we should just be happy there are so many lovely words in all languages.
How to Use Beautiful Words in English
Whether you are a logophile (a word lover) and simply enjoy the variety and character of words, or you're a writer who is looking for the perfect word, you'll find yourself needing to find aesthetic words at some point.
Maybe you wonder, “What are elegant words I can use to reflect my intelligence or sophisticated style.” The words you use do communicate to others who you are and how you see yourself.
You can use these words to . . .
Are you ready to explore some really good words that you can add to your vocabulary?
Our list of beautiful words below is a great resource to bookmark and keep handy whenever you need just the right word that sounds lovely.
Don't have time to read the complete list of beautiful words? You can download the PDF here.
List of 369 of the Most Beautiful Words
A very large quantity of something.
2. Ad Infinitum
Again and again in the same way; forever
Arousing or deserving respect and approval.
Deep love and respect.
Friendly, good-natured, or easy to talk to.
Ability to move or think quickly and easily.
A cat lover.
Brisk and cheerful readiness.
Powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating; seductive.
A Hawaiian word used when greeting or parting from someone.
The belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.
From the Greek word amarantos, meaning immortal or unfading.
Having or displaying a friendly and pleasant manner.
Showing, feeling, or relating to sexual desire.
An exceptionally beautiful, innocent, or kind person.
The highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax.
A collection or gathering of things or people.
Extremely surprising or impressive; amazing.
Surprisingly impressive or notable.
The act of rising to an important position or a higher level.
Of, connected with or resembling the stars.
Showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.
A natural electrical phenomenon characterized by the appearance of streamers of reddish or greenish light in the sky, usually near the northern or southern magnetic pole.
A feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.
To make holy or sacred.
Flattering a person's appearance.
To charm or enchant (someone), sometimes in a deceptive way.
An affinity for a place or situation.
A person who gives money or other help to a person or cause.
The quality of being well-meaning; kindness.
To burn fiercely or brightly.
A beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being.
Perfect happiness; great joy.
The state or period of flowering.
Astonishing or awe-inspiring in quality, so as to take one's breath away.
Fresh and animated;lively.
An intense brightness of light.
Active, fast, and energetic.
Characterized by cheerful high spirits.
Relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life.
A low house, with a broad front porch, having either no upper floor or upper rooms set in the roof, typically with dormer windows.
The ability or tendency to float in water or air or some other fluid.
To heat (a substance) to a high temperature but below the melting or fusing point, causing loss of moisture, reduction or oxidation, and the decomposition of carbonates and other compounds.
Not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions.
The quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness.
A sudden and unaccountable change of mood or behavior.
49. Carpe Diem
Latin, ‘seize the day!’, a quotation from Horace.
A small waterfall, typically one of several that fall in stages down a steep rocky slope.
Fine, soft wool, originally that from the Kashmir goat.
The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
The swiftness of movement.
Well balanced and confident or serene.
A person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else.
Compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.
The power or quality of giving delight or arousing admiration.
Of a gem, especially when cut en cabochon, showing a band of bright reflected light caused by aligned inclusions in the stone.
Noticeably happy and optimistic.
A transitional state.
An aromatic spice made from the peeled, dried and rolled bark of a Southeast Asian tree.
The quality of being coherent and intelligible.
Stylish and sophisticated.
Alert and thinking logically and coherently.
An obsession with bed rest.
Come together to form one mass or whole.
Typically a woman who is pleasant to look at; attractive.
Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
Combine (two or more texts, ideas, etc.) into one.
The state of being awake and aware of one's surroundings.
A state of happiness and satisfaction.
Flash or sparkle of light.
The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.
Of, resembling, or relating to twilight.
Having the structure and form of a crystal; composed of crystals.
Hold close in one's arms as a way of showing love or affection.
A person or thing that is the center of attention or admiration.
A casual romantic or sexual relationship.
A man unduly devoted to style, neatness, and fashion in dress and appearance.
Typically a man who is neat and trim in dress, appearance, or bearing.
Showing fearlessness and determination.
Extremely bright, especially so as to blind the eyes temporarily.
A man who is confident, stylish, and charming.
Very fine in texture or structure; of intricate workmanship or quality.
Highly pleasant to the taste.
Causing delight; charming.
Land attached to a manor and retained for the owner's own use.
A woman who is reserved, modest, and shy.
The final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.
Wanted or wished for as being an attractive, useful, or necessary course of action.
A state of disuse.
Lacking a plan, purpose, or enthusiasm.
Love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.
Light, delicate, and translucent, especially a fabric.
To disconcert or confuse someone.
To conceal one's true motives, feelings, or beliefs.
The state or quality of being divine.
Extremely and uncritically fond of someone; adoring.
Having a magical or pleasantly unreal quality; dreamlike.
A sweet and soothing sound.
Resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction
The quality of being cheerful and full of energy; exuberance.
An overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement.
A liquid giving off bubbles; fizzy.
A state or time of flowering.
Requiring no physical or mental exertion.
Great happiness and exhilaration.
Pleasingly graceful and stylish in appearance or manner.
The omission of a sound or syllable when speaking
A magical or medicinal potion.
Fluent or persuasive speaking or writing.
A liquid used for rubbing on the body to relieve pain from sprains and strains.
Having the quality of softening or soothing the skin.
Match or surpass (a person or achievement), typically by imitation.
To be filled with a feeling of love for someone or something.
Placed under a spell; bewitched.
Experiencing intense pleasure or joy.
Experiencing fascinated attention.
Lasting for a very short time.
A moment of sudden revelation or insight.
Mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.
A state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced.
Extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world.
The customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
A feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness.
Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.
Bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind.
To absolve someone from blame for a fault or wrongdoing, especially after due consideration of the case.
Extremely beautiful and, typically, delicate.
Filled with or characterized by a lively energy and excitement.
Amazingly good; wonderful.
Loyal, constant, and steadfast.
The power to fascinate someone; the quality of being fascinating.
Possible to do easily or conveniently.
A person who is relatively small or weak but also lively, determined, and courageous.
Cheerful and jovially celebratory.
Faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.
A slender threadlike object or fiber, especially one found in animal or plant structures.
Without any blemishes or imperfections; perfect.
To grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.
Hanging or draping loosely and gracefully.
Patient self-control; restraint and tolerance.
Courage in pain or adversity.
The emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends.
Tending to disappear; fleeting.
Making someone satisfied or happy because of fully developing their character or abilities.
Attempting to avoid notice or attention, typically because of guilt or a belief that discovery would lead to trouble; secretive.
Run or jump about playfully.
Having a sensation of whirling and a tendency to fall or stagger; dizzy.
A hot, fragrant spice made from the rhizome of a plant, which may be chopped or powdered for cooking, preserved in syrup, or candied.
An attractive or exciting quality that makes certain people or things seem appealing.
Having a striking beauty or splendor that evokes feelings of delighted admiration.
A woman who is adored, especially for her beauty.
Beautiful; very attractive.
Used to refer to something very light, thin, and insubstantial or delicate.
Having or showing grace or elegance.
Denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.
A good-looking man.
A forerunner of something.
The quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.
A feeling or its expression that is sincere; deeply and strongly felt.
Emotionally rewarding or uplifting.
Very pleasing; wonderful.
Extreme amusement, especially when expressed by laughter.
The state of being holy.
Having or manifesting hope.
A modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness.
A time or place that is extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque.
Lighting or light.
Well known, respected, and admired for past achievements.
An overlapping of edges (as of tiles or scales).
An extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation.
To inspire or permeate with a feeling or quality.
The light emmited by an incandescent object.
In an initial stage; beginning to happen or develop.
Too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.
An innocent or unsophisticated young woman, especially in a play or film.
A space on either side of a large fireplace.
Casual lack of concern; indifference.
Fearless; adventurous (often used for rhetorical or humorous effect).
Accustom to something, especially something unpleasant.
Too powerful to be defeated or overcome.
Showing luminous colors that seem to change when seen from different angles.
Having or expressing a lively, cheerful, and self-confident manner.
Fond of or characterized by joking; humorous or playful.
Cheerful and friendly.
Feeling,showing,or causing joy;joyful
Feeling or expressing great happiness and triumph.
Having or showing good judgment or sense.
Becoming young or youthful.
One's family and relations.
The quality of being kind, warmhearted, or gentle; kindness.
Capable of being kissed; inviting to be kissed through attractiveness.
A network like a labyrinth; irregular and twisting.
Something given as a bonus or extra gift.
A stretch of salt water separated from the sea by a low sandbank or coral reef.
Displaying or having a disinclination for physical exertion or effort; slow and relaxed.
The state or feeling, often pleasant, of tiredness or inertia.
A state of physical or mental weariness; lack of energy.
Speak, sing, or sound with a lilt.
A person or their body that is thin, supple, and graceful.
A person's body that is thin, supple, and graceful.
Inspiring or deserving love or affection.
A quiet, gentle song sung to send a child to sleep.
The emission of light by a substance that has not been heated, as in fluorescence and phosphorescence.
Sumptuous or extremely comfortable living surroundings.
Splendid in appearance;grand.
Causing great wonder; extraordinary.
Sweet or musical; pleasant to hear.
Pleasantly smooth or soft; free from harshness.
A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Small or trivial details.
Each of two parts into which a thing is or can be divided.
A misunderstood or misinterpreted word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of the lyrics of a song.
Filled with or characterized by murmurs; low and indistinct
A long-standing rival; an archenemy.
A respectful greeting said when giving a namaskar.
Unclear, vague, or ill-defined concept or idea.
A transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.
The food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.
Care for and encourage the growth or development of.
The state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening.
Having unlimited power; able to do anything.
The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named
Hopeful and confident about the future.
Ostentatiously rich and luxurious or lavish.
Quell the anger, agitation, or excitement of.
A manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain.
A solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases.
A complete or impressive collection of things.
An ideal or idyllic place or state.
Strong and barely controllable emotion.
An artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist, or period.
Persistent; constant in the execution of a purpose.
Clear-sighted; mentally perceptive or acute; keen.
A pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.
Very remarkable; extraordinary.
A ring or spot of light produced by pressure on the eyeball or direct stimulation of the visual system other than by light.
A pleasantly sharp and appetizing flavor.
A large or excessive amount of something.
An object, substance, or resource of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.
To deviate from the truth
The state of being close to someone or something; proximity.
The state of being prosperous.
A victory won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor.
Attractively unusual or old-fashioned.
A discrete quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of the radiation it represents.
To enter into a phase of active growth and development
In a state or period of inactivity or dormancy.
A state of stillness, calmness, and quiet in a person or place.
Representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.
Sending out light; shining or glowing brightly.
Characterized by, feeling, or expressing great pleasure or enthusiasm.
A vegetable dish consisting of onions, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, fried and stewed in oil and sometimes served cold.
Untangle or unravel something.
Strongly reminiscent or suggestive of something.
Make someone or something look or feel younger, fresher, or more lively.
Abandon or mitigate a harsh intention or cruel treatment.
A state of rest, sleep, or tranquility.
The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
Attractive and impressive through being richly colorful or sumptuous.
A surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way.
Deep respect for someone or something.
Immoderately empassioned or enthusiastic.
The quality of being morally right or justifiable.
Relating to or situated on the banks of a river.
A small wave or series of waves on the surface of water, especially as caused by an object dropping into it or a slight breeze.
A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.
Connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.
Something that is soothing or consoling for wounded feelings or an uneasy conscience.
A transparent precious stone, typically blue, that is a variety of corundum (aluminum oxide).
Enjoy or appreciate something pleasant completely, especially by dwelling on it.
A tiny trace or spark of a specified quality or feeling.
Eternal and unchanging; everlasting.
A redwood tree, especially the California redwood.
A large harem.
The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
The state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.
Of or resembling silk, especially in being soft, fine, and lustrous.
The quality or condition of being easy to understand or do.
The state or situation of being alone.
An abnormal condition of sleep in which motor acts (such as walking) are performed
Capable of producing a deep or ringing sound.
A person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.
Having ample space.
Hold the complete attention of someone as though by magic; fascinate.
Shaped like a sphere.
Magnificent; very impressive.
Marked by a gay lightness and vivacity.
An attractively tall and dignified woman.
Of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe.
Tender, juicy, and tasty food.
Characteristic of or suitable for summer.
Splendid and expensive-looking.
Lying face upward.
Kept secret, especially because it would not be approved of.
A river 444 miles (714 kilometers) long in the eastern U.S. flowing from central New York south through Pennsylvania and into the Chesapeake Bay in northern Maryland
Full of whispering sounds.
Something regarded, typically favorably, as a composition of different elements.
An object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck.
The quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip.
Showing gentleness and concern or sympathy.
A ringing or tinkling sound.
The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.
The quality or state of being tranquil; calm.
A complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state.
A great victory or achievement.
A device consisting of a circular canopy of cloth on a folding metal frame supported by a central rod, used as protection against rain or sometimes sun.
Not embarrassed, disconcerted, or ashamed.
Having or showing calmness in a crisis.
The process of being united or made into a whole.
Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.
Resin dissolved in a liquid for applying on wood, metal, or other materials to form a hard, clear, shiny surface when dry.
Great respect; reverence.
A true principle or belief, especially one of fundamental importance.
Forming a very small remnant of something that was once much larger or more noticeable.
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Full of energy and enthusiasm.
Having won a victory; triumphant.
Having or showing high moral standards.
The state of being strong and active; energy.
Filled with bitter criticism or malice.
A mass of whirling fluid or air, especially a whirlpool or whirlwind
Susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.
Pass or cause to pass easily or gently through or as if through the air.
A strong desire to travel.
A person or their actions that are sympathetic and kind.
The money or other means needed for a particular purpose.
Conducive to or suggestive of good health and physical well-being.
Inspiring a feeling of wonder or delight; marvelous.
The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.
An idealized place of great or idyllic magnificence and beauty.
Dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.
A musical instrument played by striking a row of wooden bars of graduated length with one or more small wooden or plastic mallets.
An animal (especially a sheep, calf, or foal) that is a year old or that is in its second year.
Have an intense feeling of longing for something, typically something that one has lost or been separated from.
Last year or the recent past, especially as nostalgically recalled.
Having or showing zeal.
The time at which something is most powerful or successful.
A soft gentle breeze.
Characterized by great enthusiasm and energy.
A variety of wine grape grown in California.
A musical instrument consisting of a flat wooden soundbox with numerous strings stretched across it placed horizontally and played with the fingers and a plectrum. It is used especially in central European folk music.
Having an attraction to or preference for animals.
Beautiful Words with Dark Meanings
There are some words that sound lovely but have darker or more negative meanings. Take a look at these pretty words whose sound belies their meanings.
Without a clearly defined shape or form.
A very dark substance — usually liquid.
Misty, dark, obscure.
A member of a mythical people living in perpetual mist and darkness near the land of the dead.
Twilight. Obscure, doubtful, or uncertain.
Growing dark or characterized by darkness.
Relating to an imagined state or society where there is great suffering or injustice.
The dark grey color that human eyes see in perfect darkness.
A state of being hazy and confused.
Wicked or criminal.
An attraction to darkness or night; finding relaxation or comfort in the darkness.
Having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.
Having an extreme sensitivity to light; growing best under reduced illumination.
Gloomy, sullen, melancholy; solemn in mood.
Extremely dark, gloomy, or forbidding.
Dark, shadowy, or obscure.
Shadow or darkness. A shaded area.
Exhibiting great sorrow, or misery.
Did you like these cool-sounding words?
Which of these beautiful words are your favorites?
How will you include them in your writing or conversation so you can make them a regular part of your vocabulary?
Learning good words that aren't part of your current lexicon has a variety of benefits. Improving your vocabulary . . .
The most beautiful words in the English language don't mean anything unless they are appreciated and used in communication, education, and writing.
Take advantage of this list of words, commit as many of them to memory as possible, and try to use a new word every day.
And . . . if you want to inspire others, please share this list of beautiful words on your favorite social media platform.