Though many people consider Romance languages like French and Italian to be the most beautiful languages in the world, English has plenty of beauty to offer. It all depends on your personal preference. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. That said, the English language is literally full of beautiful words.
However, it’s no easy task to identify the most beautiful words in English. For example, the word “beauty” is a subjective term that can mean different things to different people. Nonetheless, today we hope to provide the ultimate list of beautiful words in the English language!
What Makes a Word Beautiful?
So, what really makes a word beautiful? It is a difficult question to answer. Many poets, philosophers, and artists have tried to identify and define beauty. However, even some of the greatest minds in human history have struggled to find an answer.
Beauty is often highly subjective; what appears beautiful to one person may seem hideous to someone else. However, there are many characteristics that make people consider things — including words — to be beautiful.
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, beauty can be defined as “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit” or something of “particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality.”
Based on these definitions, one might conclude that a beautiful word is a word that provides pleasure to the senses. Since you probably won’t be smelling or tasting words any time soon, this means that the beauty of words can only be found in the sense of sight, sound, and — for the hearing impaired — touch.
Identifying Beauty in English Words
So, for the vast majority of people, words are beautiful based on certain visual and auditory qualities. However, these criteria are somewhat insufficient. After all, there are many words that may not sound or look particularly beautiful, but they have an especially beautiful meaning. This would imply that beauty is not just limited to the senses, but also to our ability to think about the meaning behind different words.
For the purpose of creating this list of beautiful words in English, we will need to find a way to identify some qualities that make words beautiful. Again, this is a subjective task, but we will try to add some degree of objectivity to it. Based on the definition of beauty and the fact that words can have beautiful meanings, we will only include words that meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Words that look beautiful in writing (i.e. aesthetically-pleasing words)
- Terms that sound beautiful
- Words that have a beautiful meaning
Now that we have a way to identify beautiful words in English, let’s take a look at the ultimate list of beautiful words in the English language!
The 60 Most Beautiful Words in English
Since there are different ways to evaluate beauty, we will separate beautiful words into three categories: words that are aesthetically pleasing, words that are pleasing to the ear, and words that have beautiful meanings.
List of Aesthetically Pleasing Words in English
These are words that are pleasant to see based on the combination of letters. You may not be able to explain why you enjoy seeing these words; maybe it’s their symmetry or something interesting about the order of letters.
It’s also important to note that many of these words are pleasing in multiple ways. However, there are some terms that look beautiful, but don’t sound beautiful. Similarly, there are beautiful words with dark meanings. In any case, the following words are generally considered to be visually and aesthetically-pleasing to English speakers:
- Angst – noun – A strong feeling of anxiety about one’s life or the state of the world.
- Aurora – noun – The dawn.
- Axiom – noun – A statement that is generally believed to be true.
- Becoming – adjective; noun – Complementary to one’s appearance; the act of changing to a different state of being.
- Blossom – verb; noun – To produce flowers; one or more flowers.
- Brood – noun; verb – A family of young animals; to think about something upsetting or unfavorable.
- Cherish – verb – To appreciate strongly.
- Delicacy – noun – A rare or expensive food.
- Elixir – noun – A potion.
- Galactic – adjective – Related to a galaxy.
- Hope – verb; noun – Wishing for a particular outcome; the act of expecting a positive outcome.
- Labyrinth – noun – A maze.
- Murder – verb; noun – To kill another person; the act of killing someone.
- Nemesis – noun – An enemy.
- Oblivion – noun – The state of being unaware of one’s surroundings.
- Paradox – noun – A seemingly logical proposition that leads to an absurd or contradictory conclusion.
- Philosophy – noun – The study of the underlying nature of things.
- Solitude – noun – the state of being alone.
- Tryst – noun – A secretive love affair.
- Woebegone – adjective – Having the appearance of sadness or misery.
List of English Words That Are Pleasing to the Ear
Now that we’ve looked at some of the most aesthetically-pleasing words in English, it’s time to show some appreciation for terms that are beautiful to hear or say. While some of these words simply roll off the tongue (are easy to say), others have an entirely unique and beautiful combination of vowels and consonants. So, let’s take a look at beautiful English words to hear and pronounce:
- Bungalow – noun – A small, one-story house.
- Conflate – verb – To combine two or more concepts into one.
- Demure – adjective – Reserved or modest.
- Effervescence – noun – Bubbles coming from a liquid.
- Eloquence – noun – Adept or persuasive in speech or writing.
- Epiphany – noun – A sudden realization.
- Ephemeral – adjective – Brief or lasting for a very short time.
- Esoteric – adjective – Meant to be understood by people with specialized knowledge.
- Ethereal – adjective – Light or delicate to the point of being unreal.
- Evocative – adjective – Bringing about strong thoughts or images.
- Imbue – verb – To bring about a certain feeling or quality.
- Incendiary – adjective – Able to cause fire or conflict.
- Leisure – noun – Free time.
- Luminescence – noun – Light from a source that has not been heated.
- Pinnacle – noun – The peak or top.
- Plethora – noun – A large quantity.
- Ripple – noun – A group of small waves in a liquid.
- Serendipity – noun – An unexpected yet beneficial occurrence.
- Silhouette – noun – The dark outline or shadow of something against a light background.
- Vestigial – adjective – Related to the small remains of something that was once much larger.
- Wherewithal – The resources needed to complete a particular task.
List of English Words With Beautiful Meanings
Finally, it’s time to evaluate the extremely beautiful meanings behind these terms. In many cases, the most beautiful words in the world don’t look or sound particularly special, but they hold a unique and universally-appealing meaning. There are even many unusual words with beautiful meanings! In any case, let’s take a look at some of the best English words with beautiful meanings:
- Affection – noun – The feeling of liking something or someone.
- Charm – noun; verb – The quality of arousing joy or admiration; to make someone feel admiration.
- Comfort – noun – A physical or mental state that is free of pain or worry.
- Compassion – noun – Sympathy for the suffering of others.
- Elegance – adjective – Graceful and stylish.
- Equanimity – noun – Mental calmness in the face of difficulties.
- Eudaimonia – noun – General happiness and well-being.
- Euphoria – noun – A state of strong mental or physical pleasure.
- Flourish – verb; noun – To succeed or thrive; an extravagant gesture.
- Glamour – noun – An attractive or exciting quality.
- Gorgeous – adjective – Extremely beautiful.
- Happiness – noun – The state of being happy or content.
- Idyllic – noun – Perfect, especially relating to a particular setting (time or place).
- Love – verb; noun – To feel strong affection; the act of feeling strong affection.
- Peace – noun – The absence of war or conflict.
- Pristine – Perfect in appearance or free of any blemishes.
- Quintessential – adjective – The perfect example or representation of something.
- Sumptuous – adjective – Extravagant and expensive in appearance.
- Tranquility – noun – Peacefulness.
- Glory – noun – Honor achieved for one’s actions.
Additionally, you can find even more words with beautiful meanings in our list of positive adjectives!
As you can see, there are a lot of beautiful words in English! Some terms appeal to the sense of sight, others to sound, and still others appeal to people based on their deep or pleasant meanings. Moreover, certain words on this list fit into more than one category, with a few that fit into all three!
In closing, we hope you enjoyed the ultimate list of beautiful words in the English language! As always, for all things English conversation, grammar, or job-related, visit Magoosh Speaking today!