Words related to beau

belle (n.)

"beautiful woman well-dressed; reigning beauty," 1620s, from French belle, from Old French bele, from Latin bella, fem. of bellus "beautiful, fair," from PIE *dwenelo-, diminutive form of root *deu- (2) "to do, perform; show favor, revere." "The dim. meaning is the reason why bellus was originally used to refer to women and children; it was applied to men only ironically" [de Vaan].


French, literally "a great heap" (13c.), from beau "fine, great" (see beau (n.)) + coup "a stroke," also "a throw," hence, "a heap" (see coup (n.)). Compare Spanish golpe "multitude," also "a punch, hit," from the same Latin source.

beau-ideal (n.)

"beautifulness or excellence as an abstract ideal," 1801, from French beau idéal "the ideal beauty, ideal excellence," in which beau is the subject, but as English word-order usually has the adjective first, the sense has shifted in English toward "perfect type or model." Compare beau + ideal.

beau-monde (n.)

also beau monde, "the fashionable world," 1714, French, from beau (see beau) + monde, from Latin mundus "world" (see mundane).

belles-lettres (n.)

"elegant literature, literature as fine art," 1710, French, literally "fine letters," from belles, plural of belle, fem. of beau "fine, beautiful" (see beau) + lettres, plural of lettre "letter" (see letter (n.)). The literary equivalent of beaux arts; its boundaries never have been exact, and it is "now generally applied (when used at all) to the lighter branches of literature, or the æsthetics of literary study" [OED].

*deu- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to do, perform; show favor, revere."

It forms all or part of: beatific; beatify; beatitude; Beatrice; beau; beauty; Bella; belle; beldam; belladonna; belvedere; bene-; benedict; Benedictine; benediction; benefactor; beneficiary; benefice; beneficence; benefit; benevolent; benign; bonanza; bonbon; bonhomie; bonito; bonjour; bonny; bonus; boon (adj.); bounty; debonair; embellish.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin bene (adv.) "well, in the right way, honorably, properly," bonus "good," bellus "handsome, fine, pretty," and possibly beatus "blessed," beare "to make blessed."