14世纪初, bealte, “身体的吸引力”, 也是“善良, 礼貌”, 来自英法 beute, 古法语 biauté “美貌, 诱惑力, 美丽的人” (12世纪, 现代法语 beauté), 更早的 beltet. 来自于拉丁语Vulgar Latin * bellitatem (nominative bellitas) “悦目的状态” (也是西班牙语 beldad, 意大利语 belta), 来自于拉丁语 bellus “漂亮, 英俊, 迷人”, 在古典拉丁语中特别用于妇女和儿童, 或讽刺或侮辱男人, 也许来自于PIE *dw-en-elo-, 是根 *deu- (2) “做, 表演” 的缩略语. 示好, 尊敬. “司汤达的著名定义是 la promesse de bonheur” 幸福的承诺“.
[I]t takes the one hundred men in ten million who understand beauty, which isn't imitation or an improvement on the beautiful as already understood by the common herd, twenty or thirty years to convince the twenty thousand next most sensitive souls after their own that this new beauty is truly beautiful. [Stendhal,” Life of Henry Brulard“]
取代了古英语 wlite. 具体意思是” 一个美丽的女人“, 在英语中最早记载于14世纪末 Beauty-sleep” 半夜前睡觉“(俗称最清爽) 是1850年的证据. Beauty-spot” 黑斑以前被妇女放在脸上, 以增加美感“是1650年代的. Beauty-contest 是1885年的. beauty-queen 是来自1922年(更早的时候它是牛和猪的秀名). Beauté du diable (字面意思是” 魔鬼的美“) 从1825年开始在英语中被用作法语短语.
But as it is hardly possible to define all the properties which constitute beauty, we may observe in general, that beauty consists in whatever pleases the eye of the beholder, whether in the human body, in a tree, in a landscape or in any other object. [from definition of BEAUTY in Noah Webster's” Dictionary of the English Language, “ 1828]
That pleasure which is at once the most intense, the most elevating, and the most pure is, I believe, found in the contemplation of the beautiful. When, indeed, men speak of Beauty, they mean, precisely, not a quality, as is supposed, but an effect—they refer, in short, just to that intense and pure elevation of soul—not of intellect, or of heart—upon which I have commented, and which is experienced in consequence of contemplating the “beautiful.” [Poe,” The Philosophy of Composition, “ 1846]