handsome (adj.)

15世纪, handsom “易于处理, 随手可得”, 出自 hand (n.) + -some (1). 意义扩展为“合适, 适当” (1550年代, 隐含在 handsomely), 然后是“有精美的形体, 好看, 顺眼” (1580年代). 意为“慷慨, 在自由的规模上” (奖励等), 最早记录于1680年代.

[Americans] use the word “handsome” much more extensively than we do: saying that Webster made a handsome speech in the Senate: that a lady talks handsomely, (eloquently:) that a book sells handsomely. A gentleman asked me on the Catskill Mountain, whether I thought the sun handsomer there than at New York. [Harriet Martineau, “Society in America,” 1837]

巴特利特(1848) 引用韦伯斯特(词典编纂者) 对这一美国通俗用法的 handsome :“一般来说, 当应用于事物时, 它导入的是形式对眼睛, 或对品味的同意; 而当应用于方式时, 它传达的是适合或恰当与优雅的概念.” 相关链接: Handsomeness. 感官的发展, 可参考 pretty (副词), fair (副词). 荷兰语中类似的形成 handzaam “tractable, serviceable”.

Handsome is founded upon the notion of proportion, symmetry, as the result of cultivation or work; a handsome figure is strictly one that has been developed by attention to physical laws into the right proportions. It is less spiritual than beautiful; a handsome face is not necessarily a beautiful face. [Century Dictionary, 1895]

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Definitions of handsome from WordNet

handsome (adj.)
pleasing in appearance especially by reason of conformity to ideals of form and proportion; "very pretty but not so extraordinarily handsome"- Thackeray; "our southern women are well-favored"- Lillian Hellman;
Synonyms: fine-looking / good-looking / better-looking / well-favored / well-favoured
handsome (adj.)
given or giving freely;
a handsome allowance
Synonyms: big / bighearted / bounteous / bountiful / freehanded / giving / liberal / openhanded